Kentucky to Use Outside Counsel in Gay-Marriage Case

Mar 4, 2014

Attorney General Jack Conway

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal a judge's decision granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married in other states and countries.

Beshear's announcement on Tuesday came moments after Attorney General Jack Conway said he would not ask a higher court to review the decision.  Both are Democrats.

WKU Associate History Professor Dr. Patricia Minter called Gov. Beshear's decision "odd"

“The governor may feel that he’s compelled to defend this in some way in order to get a definitive answer. That’s one possibility," said Dr. Minter. "Of course there are all kinds of political explanations that are possible as well. But, it is unlikely that outside counsel is going to prevail in this case."

Their moves come four days after a federal judge in Louisville gave the state 21 days to implement a ruling overturning a voter-imposed ban on recognizing same-sex unions.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn issued a Feb. 12 opinion that Kentucky's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages violated the Constitution's equal-protection clause in the 14th Amendment because it treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."