Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday night that "it's time for everyone to take a deep breath," and that he won't call a special legislative session on same-sex marriage issues.
Beshear's comments came a few hours after House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he favors a special session to address the concerns of some county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"There are obviously strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but the United States Supreme Court has spoken, and same-sex marriage is now legal in Kentucky and the rest of the United States," Beshear said.
"Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, the overwhelming majority of county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender, and the courts will deal appropriately with the two or three clerks who are acting otherwise."
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Beshear said his administration is continuing to identify state statutes that must now be interpreted in a different way and is making the appropriate changes.
He said the Department of Revenue has put out new guidelines regarding taxation, and the Administrative Office of the Courts has issued new guidance on changing names on drivers' licenses.
"It's time for everyone to take a deep breath," Beshear said. "There is no need to spend $60,000 a day of taxpayers' dollars calling a special session of the General Assembly, and therefore I will not be calling a special session on this topic.
"If there are any minor changes needed to clarify the language of statutes, any such changes can be made in the 2016 legislative session in January," he said.
Beshear's second term as governor ends in December.
Beshear's statement came in response to Stumbo's comments that the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the nation meant that states need to look at which laws need to be changed to adhere with the ruling.
Stumbo said that includes a stumbling block in Kentucky, where a handful of county clerks have refused to issue licenses, saying the new law violates their religious beliefs.
Last week, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against one such clerk, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. A hearing will be held Monday in U.S. District Judge David Bunning's court in Ashland.
"States need to act quickly so that there is certainty and consistency in the application of the new law," Stumbo said. "With that in mind, I am in favor of a special session to take up the issue involving county clerks and marriage licenses.
"We are currently drafting possible legislation that would help address the issues some of our county clerks are having as a result of the court's ruling."
Only the governor may call a special session and set its agenda. Lawmakers can determine how long a special session lasts.
Senate Republican leaders issued a statement before Beshear commented, saying, "Perhaps it would be appropriate for the governor to issue a temporary solution via an executive order until the legislature can craft a more comprehensive solution" in the 2016 General Assembly, which begins in January.
Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who has proposed creating an online system for issuing marriage licenses, was elated with Stumbo's call for a special session.
"I'm so happy to know that there are people concerned enough to come together regardless what side of the aisle they are on," said Davis, who has stopped issuing marriage licenses since the Supreme Court ruling.
Davis went to the Capitol on Monday to meet with Beshear, who was in Louisville for the day.
Davis said he is now scheduled to meet with the governor at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Beshear's Capitol office.