The Perilous State of Kentucky’s Marriage Amendment

By Richard Nelson


March 5, 2014

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Yesterday, in a surprise move, Governor Beshear announced his attention to seek outside counsel to defend Kentucky's 2004 marriage protection amendment, a constitutional amendment passed with over 70 percentage points. The move is surprising as it pits Kentucky's Attorney General, Jack Conway, who decided yesterday to not defend the provision of Kentucky's constitution that prohibits Kentucky from recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state.

Conways's press event was particularly notable for the tearful emotion he concocted. If he felt that Kentucky's constitutional amendment was discriminatory for so long, why does he only now choose to not defend portions of it? Moreoever, why choose not to defend only portions of it and not the whole amendment, if it's as discriminary as Conway assumes it is? Were Conway being intellectually honest, he should have stopped defending the amendment a long time ago. 

Conways actions are reprehensible—a dereliction of duty, an invitation to lawlessness, and an undermining of the Rule of Law. 


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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center