Now this would be a cheap accommodation that, it seems to me, a state could quite easily provide. It’s true that state law requires the County Clerk’s name on the marriage license and the marriage certificate. But the point of RFRAs, such as the Kentucky RFRA, is precisely to provide religious objectors with exemptions even from such generally applicable laws, so long as the exemptions don’t necessarily and materially undermine a compelling government interest.
And allowing all marriage licenses and certificates — for opposite-sex marriages or same-sex ones — to include a deputy clerk’s name, or just the notation “Rowan County Clerk,” wouldn’t jeopardize any compelling government interest. To be sure, it would have to be clear that this modification is legally authorized, and doesn’t make the license and certificate invalid. But a court that grants Davis’s RFRA exemption request could easily issue an order that makes this clear.
Indeed, Kim Davis has filed a federal complaint against state officials under, among other things, the Kentucky RFRA. And, as I noted, one of the proposed accommodations that she herself has suggested, albeit in the federal stay application, is the simple removal of her name. But that sort of accommodation based on the Kentucky state RFRA is not a remedy that’s likely to be available in federal court.
But if Davis sues in state court, seeking a declaration that she can issue licenses and certificates without her name — as a Kentucky RFRA-based exemption from the Kentucky statutory requirements for what must go on her license — I think she’d have a good case.