Kirk emphasized that licenses to same-sex couples would be issued in the end. If one clerk refused, then another would do the issuing. If all clerks refused, then under his bill, the county probate judge would be obliged to perform the task.
We pressed Kirk on whether or how other public employees might be covered – a state revenue bureaucrat who processes joint tax returns, for instance. But the senator from Americus declined to get more specific.
Galloway then asked Senate President pro tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) for his thoughts on the bill on Tuesday.
“Public employees should carry out their job responsibilities, and if that requires issuing marriage licenses, they should issue marriage licenses,” Shafer said.
So Shafer doesn’t back a bill that would protect the Georgia version of a Kim Davis, but that doesn’t mean he’s against other possible components of such legislation.
“My concern is not with public employees, but with non-profit organizations — schools and adoption agencies whose sponsoring churches hold to the traditional view of marriage,” he said. “I do not want to see them shut down or their good work criminalized.”
Shafer also continues to be a supporter of Senate Bill 129, state Sen. Josh McKoon’s (R-Columbus) so-called “religious freedom” bill. Kirk will reportedly be introducing his bill next week.