In the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, some county judge-executives in Kentucky have stopped presiding over marriages altogether rather than perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.
John Settles, president of the Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association, estimates about half of the state’s county leaders have turned away same-sex couples while the other half have not.
"One in particular said we all have sinned, even heterosexuals," Settles commented to WKU Public Radio. "He figures that everyone he marries is a sinner anyway, and he can't discriminate between the sins."
As judge-executive of Washington County, Settles has performed about 350 marriages in his 16 years in office, but since the Supreme Court ruling, he has stopped the practice due to his religious beliefs.
"I have a strong belief in the Bible as the word of God and I believe the Bible states that marriage is to be between one man and one woman," Settles states. "It's my firm belief that that's the way it was intended to be from the very beginning."
While county clerks are bound by state law to issue marriage licenses, judge-executives are not required to perform marriage ceremonies.