Gay Marriage | Jack Conway | Kentucky | News | Steve Beshear

Kentucky Attorney General Won't Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban; Gov. Will Appeal with Outside Counsel

ConwayKentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (pictured) says he won't defend the state's gay marriage ban in an appeal of a federal court ruling ordering the state to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere, the Courier-Journal reports:

“Judge Heyburn got it right,” he said at his Frankfort office.

By appealing, he said, he would be defending discrimination “and that I will not do.”

Conway said he had prayed on the decision and felt he is doing what is right. He said that he was sworn to defend both the constitutions of Kentucky and the United States.

“It’s about placing people over politics,” he said.

He began choking up at the end of the statement before leaving without taking questions.

The AP reports that Governor Steve Beshear will appeal the fuling with outside counsel, not the attorney general.

Late last week, Heyburn put his order that the state recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere on hold for three weeks to give the state enough time to comply. The governor had asked for 90 days.

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  1. If you've ever wondered why Kentucky is considered such a backward State or why it has the highest poverty levels in the nation then look to their elected officials - officials who will spend millions of taxpayer monies to discriminate against their own taxpayers. Hate rears its ugly bigoted head in Kentucky.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Mar 4, 2014 11:21:34 AM

  2. Thank you, sir.

    Posted by: Tom in SFBA | Mar 4, 2014 11:22:57 AM

  3. Well done. At the risk of hurting feelings, Kentucky is quite a backwards state indeed, and it's good to see someone with sense in a position of influence.

    Posted by: Jack M | Mar 4, 2014 11:29:00 AM

  4. Thank you, Steve. Unfortunately the state will be appealing anyway, but at least AG Conway here showed some dignity, respect for the constitution and respect for LGBT citizens.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 4, 2014 11:29:39 AM

  5. Meant thank you Jack, obviously, (Jack Conway). Kentucky polled 35-55 against marriage equality about a week and a half ago, so Conway's position is definitely a courageous one. But Governor Beshear is appealing anyway, so that's very disappointing.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 4, 2014 12:04:22 PM

  6. ..and they're all worried about Obama wasting taxpayers money?!?! Everyone in Kentucky could have free healthcare for what this will cost.

    Posted by: Dixichuk | Mar 4, 2014 12:08:36 PM

  7. The real polling question shouldn't be about "support" it should be about how "bitter" and "angry" residents will be should gay marriage start to happen. I doubt many of the people who don't "support" gay marriage would on the other hand be particularly upset over it. After all, it takes a lot more effort to get worked up and angry over something than it does to just wish it didn't happen.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 4, 2014 12:14:43 PM

  8. Conway is on the RIGHT side of history

    Posted by: reality | Mar 4, 2014 12:45:11 PM

  9. You can watch his remarks here:

    Posted by: reality | Mar 4, 2014 12:51:27 PM

  10. This is a nice surprise. It's great that this man is taking a principled stand. Truly admirable and, in a state like Kentucky, brave.

    Posted by: Daniel | Mar 4, 2014 12:51:30 PM

  11. Thankfully, his Sky Fairy told him not to defend it, as opposed to think about it with an ethical and logical mind...

    Posted by: Kieran | Mar 4, 2014 12:59:33 PM

  12. Very disappointed in Beshear. A Democrat should know better!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 4, 2014 1:19:25 PM

  13. reality, thanks for posting that link.

    Conway handles that so so so well. All Dem Pols should watch that. He frames the decision morally - (not) defending discrimination, separation of church & state, duty to the US Constitution and the uniform application of justice.

    Well done AG Conway.

    Posted by: GreatLakeSailor | Mar 4, 2014 1:19:28 PM

  14. Bravo Jack Conway!
    This is exactly the response we hope for but so rarely get publicly. Jack did a thing today that will stay with him for the rest of his life. He took a stand against injustice. Against being a part of hurting his fellow humans and against in the bigger picture against helping to spread inhumanity.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Mar 4, 2014 1:40:32 PM

  15. Judge Heyburn was appointed to the federal bench by former President George H.W. Bush. No matter Democrat or Republican, all judges are activist judges.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 4, 2014 1:53:24 PM

  16. “It’s about placing people over politics”

    When we lose the perspective that America is about the equality of it's citizens and attempt to marginalize a segment of the population based on either a political or religious agenda, we have done a great disservice to America. When we deny equality based only on religious or political rationale, we have done a disservice to America.

    From his comment, Kentucky's AG Conway knows this.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Mar 4, 2014 2:01:27 PM

  17. A state AG should defend his state's laws until the issue is settled. It is the responsibility of the plaintiffs to prove the law is unconstitutional, and of the federal courts to decide the matter. One's personal opinion should not affect how he does his job.

    Posted by: TKinSC | Mar 4, 2014 3:45:21 PM

  18. A judge is an activist judge only when you do not like his (her) decisions.

    Posted by: Gay_Guy | Mar 4, 2014 5:28:11 PM

  19. Guys, this shows that Democrats don't do the right thing often either. I'm dissapointed in Steve.

    Posted by: Aepol1 | Mar 4, 2014 6:24:38 PM

  20. Guys, this shows that Democrats don't do the right thing often either. I'm dissapointed in Steve.

    Posted by: Aepol1 | Mar 4, 2014 6:24:39 PM

  21. @tkinsc, AG Conway has an obligation to enforce the laws and the constitution of the state of Kentucky. No one is accusing him of neglecting to enforce the laws. The question is does he have the right to not defend in court a law that he feels is unconstitutional?

    If you think about it, it's much better to find someone to defend a law in court who truly believes in it, rather than force someone to defend the law who thinks it is unconstitutional. If you were in court on trial, would you want a lawyer who believed in your innocence or a lawyer who thought you were guilty and was just going through the motions?

    So long as AG Conway is enforcing all the duly enacted laws in Kentucky then I don't see a problem with him not defending the law in court. If it really needs defending then the Governor can find someone else to defend this in court.

    Posted by: Howard B | Mar 4, 2014 8:54:32 PM

  22. I'd take a ride on that.

    Posted by: FFS | Mar 5, 2014 12:16:58 AM

  23. @TKINSC
    The U.S. Constitution trumps Kentucky's. Period.

    There's this little thing called the fourteenth amendment.

    Posted by: DavidinChelseaMA | Mar 5, 2014 6:12:17 AM

  24. > Kentucky is considered such a backward State
    > [...] why it has the highest poverty levels in the nation

    You *REALLY* should run a spell checker before hitting "Post"!

    This is how to spell the name of the *most* uneducated, homophobic, bigoted, discriminatory, backwards, and poverty-ridden state in the union:

    M I S S I S S I P P I.

    Posted by: bobbi | Mar 7, 2015 11:23:22 PM

  25. > But Governor Beshear is appealing anyway


    With "Enemies like Governor Beshear, gays need no friends."

    The governor intends to prove that married couples with cease sex if gays can marry.

    Good luck making that argument with a straight face, Governor Beshear!

    Good luck passing the laugh test with that arugment, Governor Beshear!

    Posted by: bobbi | Mar 7, 2015 11:32:17 PM

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