The U.S. Supreme's Court ruling Wednesday striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not impact Kentucky laws regarding the definition of marriage. Kentucky voters in 2004 approved an amendment to the state constitution defining a marriage as being between one man and one woman.
WKU constitutional law scholar Patty Minter says the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA concerns those in same-sex marriages being able to receive the same federal benefits as those in heterosexual marriages.
"It does not affect the definition of marriage in Kentucky, and it does not require the state of Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It also has no impact on civil unions anywhere in the 50 states," Dr. Minter told WKU Public Radio.
Dr. Minter, a WKU History Professor, says those wanting same-sex marriage in Kentucky would likely have to get a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the 2004 state amendment.
"Or you would need another case at the U.S. Supreme Court--one that rendered all of those state marriage amendments to be moot. They would also be rendered moot if you passed a federal amendment to the Constitution that mandated that marriage rights could not be abridged based on status.
WKU President Gary Ransdell says anything less than a five-percent tuition increase next year will result in a loss of jobs on campus. In a presentation to faculty and staff Wednesday, Dr. Ransdell outlined his thoughts on the school’s budget, tuition rates, and employee compensation.
He says if the Council on Postsecondary Education approves a four-percent tuition hike instead of the five-percent increase the school is seeking, it won’t be enough.
“Then we have to figure out where we’re going to come up with $1.3 million. A one-percent tuition increase equals $1.3 million. So we’ll have to reduce our spending by $1.3 million in some fashion or another. And the message here is that’s likely to result in a loss of jobs.”
Dr. Ransdell also said faculty and staff will likely see no salary increase next year, because such a boost would have to be paid for by eliminating positions on campus. WKU Faculty Regent Patty Minter told WKU Public Radio after the meeting that she disagrees with the notion that the only way to increase pay is by cutting jobs.
The WKU faculty regent says she is hearing a great deal of concern from her colleagues concerning the new contract awarded to the school's football coach. History Professor Patti Minter was the lone voice of dissent at Friday's Board of Regents meeting when coach Bobby Petrino's $850,000 dollar contract was approved.
"Decisions like this hire demonstrate that WKU is still committed to funding entertainment at all costs, even as our enrollment flattens, our debt load expands, and our sources of new revenue dry up," Dr. Minter told the Board.
"To state the obvious, WKU must put the money into the academic mission and recognize the faculty and staff who fulfill it are as important as brick-and-mortar and extra-curricular concerns, because when funding is scarce, non-academic projects and extra-curriculars do not teach students, engage in research or public service, or retain the students which is obviously the key to our financial future."
No other regents commented on Minter's statements or the contract before the vote was taken.
After Petrino's contract was approved, Dr. Minter told WKU Public Radio her vote wasn't meant as a slight against athletics, but is instead a protest against what she sees as misplaced priorities at the school.