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AG candidates wrangle over Kim Davis and same-sex marriage

Beshear also said Westerfield frequently represented debt collectors in his private law practice.

Nearly one-third of Westerfield’s debt-collection cases, however, were dismissed due to lack of action, Beshear said.

Westerfield called the attacks distortions, accusing his opponent of bringing up “childish, petty things from years gone by.”

Meanwhile, the candidates delved into the case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who chose jail time over issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing religious liberty.

Westerfield said Gov. Steve Beshear should have issued an executive order to exempt Davis and other clerks from issuing licenses to same-sex couples due to religious objections. Minus as executive order, Westerfield said Beshear should convene the General Assembly in special session to take up the issue.

“There’s a way to do this, to get those licenses issued and to protect the religious freedoms of those persons who object,” Westerfield said.

Andy Beshear countered that the governor cannot change a section of law by executive order, adding: “It’s law school 101.”

Beshear said a special legislative session would be a waste of taxpayers’ money since lawmakers start their regular 2016 session in early January. He said lawmakers can then debate whether to change how the marriage licenses are issued.

“As long as it meets the requirement of the Supreme Court decision, it will be perfectly legal and I think we’ll have cooler heads at that point,” he said.

Westerfield replied: “I just hope no one gets locked up for the next several months, as one’s already done.”

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