Where Does Rand Paul Stand on Kentucky Clerk Flouting Federal Law?

by HRC Staff

Kentucky clerk’s outrageous refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples would become common if the noxious First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) passed in Congress

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, called on Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul, as well as others seeking the highest office in the land, to say whether they believe Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should be allowed to infringe on the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry the person they love, and continue to refuse issuing them marriage licenses.  

Following a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court last night declining her request for an emergency stay on a federal court order requiring her to issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples, Davis was supposed to finally start doing her job this morning.  Instead, she had decided to continue to flout the law.

“Public servants have a responsibility to serve the entire public equally, and by openly flouting the law of the land, Ms. Davis is refusing to do so,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “The question for Rand Paul, and all other presidential candidates, is a simple one. Do you believe that public servants should get to pick and choose which laws to follow, and which services to provide?”

Rand Paul has previously said that “he is not a legal authority” on whether clerks can deny marriage licenses.

In addition, the situation in Rowan County is exactly the kind of uncertainty that could result if the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) became law. Going far beyond protecting the rights established in the First Amendment, this offensive anti-LGBT legislation would undermine the rule of law and promote taxpayer-funded discrimination.  If passed, FADA could create a breakdown of government services and runaway litigation. A federal employee could argue, for example, that they refuse to process tax returns, visa applications or Social Security checks whenever a same-sex couple's paperwork appears on his or her desk. FADA could make Kim Davis’ clearly illegal actions in Rowan County permissible.

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifSo far, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal and Donald Trump have not taken a position on FADA. While Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Scott Walker have said they support it.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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