Kentucy Governor Steve Beshear has announced he is vetoing a controversial religious freedom bill. Civil rights groups had urged a veto, saying the measure would essentially legalize certain forms of discrimination against gays and lesbians by groups and individuals who could claim they were doing so because of their religious beliefs.
Some church groups from across the state have been urging Beshear to sign the bill, saying it would give stronger legal standing to people who claim their religious rights have been violated.
“Religious freedom is a cornerstone of this great nation, and a right enshrined in both the United States Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution,” Gov. Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “I value and cherish our rights to religious freedom and I appreciate the good intentions of House Bill 279 and the members of the General Assembly who supported this bill to protect our constitutional rights to practice our religion."
It’s been nearly three-and-a-half weeks since a Bowling Green man was shot by an off-duty Warren County court security officer. Many people in the Bowling Green-Warren County area are waiting with intense interest to hear the findings of a Kentucky State Police investigation into the death of 27-year-old Brandon Bradshaw, who died Feb. 26, four days after being shot by Tommy Brown in a parking lot along the U.S. 31-W Bypass in Bowling Green.
The KSP investigation has been handed over to Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron, who says he’s still waiting to receive a few more documents before announcing how his office will proceed.
No charges have been filed against Brown. His attorney, Alan Simpson, says Brown acted in self-defense when he shot Bradshaw.
Earlier this week, about forty family members and friends of Bradshaw protested in front of the Warren County Justice Center, demanding answers in the case. Members of the group say they plan a similar protest next Wednesday, the day grand juries meet in Warren County.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is scheduled to headline the Iowa Republican party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in May. While members of Congress often take part in speaking engagements in other states, Sen. Paul’s appearance in Iowa is making news because the event always creates buzz about the upcoming presidential race.
The Hawkeye State has been a traditional launching pad for presidential candidates from both parties, given that the Iowa caucuses serve as the country’s first major electoral event in the presidential nominating process.
Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, has admitted he is considering a run for the White House in 2016, and attracted a lot of popular press in conservative circles when he launched a 13-hour filibuster earlier this month against the nomination of John Brennan to be C.I.A. chief.
Earlier this week, Paul told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that the country needs to find a way to give legal status to undocumented immigrants working in the U.S. While stopping short of saying there should be a pathway to citizenship for such workers, Paul’s latest statements were much more moderate than his previous positions on immigration.