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Kentucky: AG won’t appeal pro-gay-marriage ruling but governor will

Steve Beshear says he’ll hire lawyers to challenge federal judge’s decision

Minutes after Kentucky Attorney-General Jack Conway said he wouldn’t appeal a federal judge’s pro-gay-marriage ruling, the state’s governor said he would hire lawyers to challenge the decision. Credit:

Following Kentucky attorney-general Jack Conway’s decision not to appeal a federal judge’s ruling ordering the state to recognize gay marriages conducted out-of-state, Governor Steve Beshear says he’ll hire attorneys to take up the challenge, The Guardian reports.

At a March 4 press conference, Attorney-General Jack Conway said he wouldn’t challenge the ruling of US District Court Judge John G Heyman because he didn’t want to defend discrimination, according to the report.

Conway’s decision comes on the heels of comments about gay marriage bans US Attorney-General Eric Holder made in The New York Times, in which he says state attorneys-general are not bound to defend laws they determine are discriminatory. But decisions not to defend such laws must be made on solid constitutional grounds, Holder adds.

“Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do,” the report quotes Holder as saying.

Not long after Conway declined to appeal the ruling by Heyman, who gave the state 21 days to follow through on the order, Beshear issued his own statement, saying that “legal chaos” would reign if a delay of the ruling isn’t issued while the matter is appealed.

“People may take action based on this decision only to be placed at a disadvantage should a higher court reverse the decision,” Beshear adds, suggesting that the US Supreme Court should be the ultimate arbiter of the case.