News in Brief

Kim Davis says pope encouraged her

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court’s orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn’t deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome that he had no comment on the topic.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.

“It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to meet me or know me,” Davis said in an interview with ABC.

In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Staver would not say who initiated the meeting with the pope or how it came to be, though he did say that Vatican officials had inquired about Davis’ situation while she was in jail. He declined to name them.

“He told me before he left, he said ‘stay strong.’ That was a great encouragement,” Davis said of the pope during the ABC interview. “Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we’re doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything.”

She didn’t say in the interview whether she had a private audience with the pope or she was part of larger crowd.

Davis was in Washington for the Values Voter Summit, where the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage, presented her with an award for defying the federal judge. While in Washington, the longtime Democrat said she was switching to the Republican party because she felt abandoned by Democrats in her fight against same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis did not focus on the divisive debate over same-sex marriage during his visit last week. As he left the country, he told reporters who inquired that he did not know Davis’ case in detail, but he defended conscientious objection as a human right.

“It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right,” Francis said.


Berea residents approve limited alcohol sales

BEREA (AP) — Residents in Berea have voted to allow by-the-drink alcohol sales at some restaurants.

Media report that the referendum on alcohol sales passed on Tuesday by 363 votes. There were 2,589 ballots cast.

The move comes after Berea Mayor Steven Connelly helped get signatures that allowed the referendum to occur. He said alcohol sales would improve tourism and help the economy. The city is dry, other than the historic Boone Tavern, which began selling alcohol last year.

Some religious leaders had opposed liquor sales, saying it could cause social problems.

Sales won’t begin immediately. The state Alcoholic Beverage Control can start accepting applications 60 days after the county certifies election results.

Two previous alcohol referendums, one in 2000 and one in 2007, failed.


Aspen climbing fatality identified as Ky. man

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — A climber who died while bouldering near Aspen has been identified as 41-year-old Travis Boyle of Union, Kentucky.

Authorities say Boyle was bouldering on Christiana Peak near Aspen fell about 200 feet to his death when a piece of rock he was using as a hold flaked off.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office says Boyle was not using a rope when he fell Monday afternoon. The Aspen Times reports that after the fall, his climbing partner became stranded on the cliff band at 12,751 feet and was lowered to safety about 11 p.m. Monday after members of Mountain Rescue Aspen reached him.

Boyle’s body was recovered Tuesday.


Ky. governor’s race hits sports talk radio

LEXINGTON (AP) — Kentucky’s candidates for governor will debate on the state’s most popular sports talk radio show on Wednesday.

Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones will moderate a debate between Republican Matt Bevin, Democrat Jack Conway and independent Drew Curtis beginning at 10 a.m. It will be the second time Bevin has appeared on the show as he participated in a similar debate during the Republican primary.

Kentucky Sports Radio is wildly popular with the passionate fan base of the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team.

Bevin, Conway and Curtis debated once last month. Other debates are scheduled, but it is unclear whether Curtis will be invited.


Beshear plans to appoint another minority to UofL board

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration violated state law with his appointments that left racial minorities underrepresented on the University of Louisville’s governing board, according to an opinion from Attorney General Jack Conway’s office Tuesday.

The opinion set off an immediate chain reaction of responses, which seemingly pointed toward the eventual appointment of a black member to correct the lack of sufficient minority representation on UofL’s board of trustees.

Soon after the opinion surfaced, Beshear’s office announced that UofL Trustee Steve Wilson had submitted his resignation.

Wilson, who is white, said Tuesday he was stepping aside so another minority representative could be appointed to the board.

Beshear signaled his intention to do that by appointing an African-American trustee. He asked a nominating committee to convene as soon as possible to submit three names to him as required by law.

“I will be specifically asking the committee to forward names of qualified African-Americans so that I can appoint such a person to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees,” Beshear said in a statement.

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