KY Gov. to Hire Lawyers to Defend Marriage Ban

The attorney general of Kentucky is, like several others around the country, refusing to defend that state’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. Now Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, is going to hire private attorneys to appeal the district court ruling striking it down.

Two of Kentucky’s top Democrats split sharply Tuesday over same-sex marriage, with Gov. Steve Beshear saying outside lawyers will be hired to appeal a decision granting recognition to gay couples married in other states after the attorney general announced he would not pursue the case.

The high-level intraparty divide — illustrating the rapid spread of the gay-marriage debate into America’s conservative heartland — came four days after a federal judge in Louisville gave Kentucky 21 days to implement a ruling that overturned a ban on recognizing same-sex unions. Voters overwhelmingly approved the ban in 2004.

Attorney General Jack Conway choked up with emotion at a news conference announcing he would not appeal the ruling.

“I would be defending discrimination,” Conway said. “That I will not do.”

Minutes later, Beshear said in a written statement that the potential for “legal chaos is real” if a delay is not granted while the case is appealed. He noted that litigation over gay marriage is pending in many other states and said the issue ultimately should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

And it will be, whether Kentucky appeals or not, though this case differ from the several other cases that directly implicate the question of whether the state must allow same-sex marriages inside the state.

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  • democommie

    There’s an ad running on the left with a picture of Mitch McConman that sez:

    “Stop Mitch’s Dangerous Obstruction”

    Did he do something involving a pair of wetsuits and a dildo? Just curious.

    The American South:

    Where you don’t have to be a reptilican to be a braindead fuck.

  • democommie

    Fucking ads, running on their own, again.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    So a Republican is refusing to defend a law that even he recognizes as bigoted and unconstitutional, while a Democrat is spending tax-payer money to defend said law.

    Just goes to prove, yet again, that you cannot make assumptions based on the letter after a politician’s name.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    Oops, my bad: I made an assumption of my own about Conway’s affiliation. Sorry about that.

  • John Pieret

    This may be a bit of political theater. According to this article, Conway wants to run for governor in 2015 to replace the retiring Beshear.

    The problem for Conway is that Democrats in Kentucky are evenly divided on gay marriage, according to the latest Bluegrass poll. In a tough primary race, it’s hard to see a path to victory for him if he angers liberals by defending a law they believe to be fundamentally wrong. …

    While a decision to not defend Kentucky’s law may play well in Louisville, Lexington and some of the more progressive parts of the state, it could harm him is more conservative areas, particularly in a general election against someone like former Louisville Metro Council member Hal Heiner, who is expected to announce he is running for Governor this week.

    This way Conway can declare his conscience while the ruling is appealed. Maybe opponents of gay rights forget about it next year and he won’t have angered the liberals in the meantime. And if SCOTUS decides the issue based on a case from another state …

  • David C Brayton

    @democommie–Got that right. Frikkin’ auto play ads. How can I read Ed’s blog while at work? I need to have the sound on for other apps.

    Ed–the best way to get rid of the ads is to pay $2 a month, right?

  • Modusoperandi

    Gregory in Seattle “So a Republican is refusing to defend a law that even he recognizes as bigoted and unconstitutional, while a Democrat is spending tax-payer money to defend said law.”

    In 2040 they’ll be using this example as proof that Republicans were for gay marriage all along.

  • Trebuchet

    @1, 2, and 6: I don’t see any ads because I chipped in a few bucks to go ad-free. I can always tell when my login has lapsed because I get an ad or two before logging in. I think it was $30/year. That said, there’s a distinct lack of information about that option on the main page, or, I think, any other page, to let people know the option is there. Supposedly there’s a main page update in the works but we seem to have been hearing that for a year or two now. Even the “donate” button doesn’t say anything about the ad free option.

    At this point, I was going to recommend use of the “report tech issues” button to avoid sending threads off-topic like this but it seems to have gone missing. Dang.

  • colnago80

    Re #6

    Surfing the Internet while you’re supposed to be working, tsk, tsk.

  • freehand

    I hate having to read news stories multiple times, trying to track all of the triple negatives…


    The governor, who is a member of the non-bigot party, will not join the AG in defying the ban requiring not recognizing some marriages not performed in Kentucky.


    OK, I think I have it.

  • eric


    SSM ban struck down by judge, making SSM legal (in 21 days).

    AG says he will not appeal; he will not defend the ban any more.

    Governor hires lawyers to delay/appeal the strike down, hoping to keep the ban in place.

  • democommie

    “Ed–the best way to get rid of the ads is to pay $2 a month, right?”

    $2 here, $2 there. Pretty soon, you’re talking about REAL money.

    I have a very thin safety cushion, financially, and each $2 charge for something else is one less, “Forty” of Genny Cream Ale for moi!

  • tfkreference

    Ahhh, Genny Cream Ale – it’s been too long.

  • eoraptor

    To add to the derailment, really people, adBlock works, and it’s free. There is a version, or similar app, for just about every browser in the free world!

    P.S. Not associated, in any way, with adBlock, spammers, or internet-marketers.

  • tiredofusernamerules

    @John Pieret – It’s even more complicated than Conway intending to run for governor in 2015. Andy Beshear, the current governor’s son, probably is running for attorney general, so the governor may be wanting to shore up his son’s name with Kentucky’s fairly conservative electorate. Also, the state senate is dominated by Republicans while the House is majority Democrats. However, there is a real risk that Republicans could take the House next year. Steve Beshear may be trying to give the House Dems some cover.

  • steve84

    >”Conway wants to run for governor in 2015″

    This is by far the biggest problem with the AG office. It’s usually just a stepping stone towards higher offices like governor or senator. Just look at how many top politicians have been AGs. So instead of good lawyers and people who care about justice, most of them are slimy, self-serving politicians.