Opinion: County clerks cannot use the power of public office to impose personal beliefs on others, by Joe Dunman (Insider Louisville)
... But more troublesome than the logistical problems these bills create is the idea that state or county officials can even have religious objections at all. It’s important to understand that public officials like county clerks are government actors. While they’re at work, they’re not acting as private individuals. They’re acting as the government. When they stand behind that counter and issue licenses, or enforce the law in any way, they effectively cease to be individuals and instead become the government.
“The government” is people. It requires public officials to act in order for it to function. And those public officials swear an oath to uphold the constitutions of Kentucky and the United States (the latter trumps the former). In exchange for the power, prestige and compensation of public office, they agree to enforce the law and perform their duties regardless of their personal religious views. It’s critical that they do so, because neither Kentucky nor the United States is a theocracy.