WKU Public Radio News Staff
Tue July 31, 2012
Will National Gay Marriage Debate Impact Kentucky Elections?
Some political observers are wondering if the push to add support for gay marriage to the national Democratic platform this year will affect elected officials in Kentucky. Following President Barack Obama's recent statement in support of same-sex marriage, political observers expect the party to change the platform at this year's Democratic convention.
When asked about the potential addition to the platform, Kentucky Democratic Party officials say the issue is far from decided nationally, adding that Kentucky voters chose their stance on the issue in 2004, when they approved a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton says that won't stop Republicans from using the national action against Kentucky Democrats.
“This would be something else that they would tie to those particular individuals in trying to show that Democrats in particular and the national platform are out of step with the traditional values of the people in the state of Kentucky,” he says.
House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover says he's not surprised by the actions of the national Democrats and will link Kentucky officials to any potential actions.
"In 2004, the people of this Commonwealth decided overwhelmingly to support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The Democrats most recent action is yet another example of why their policies, from the economy to health coverage to social issues, are not right for Kentucky," Hoover says.
However, if the KDP doesn't embrace the change, Clayton expects any attacks to fall flat.
“I think that clearly that amendment they can point back and defend that even though the national party itself on some issues may be much more liberal than we are and therefore, that’s not part of how we’ve been running,” he says.