Democrats split on same sex marriage ruling causes confusion - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Democrats split on same sex marriage ruling causes confusion

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Governor Steve Beshear (left) Attorney General Jack Conway (right) Governor Steve Beshear (left) Attorney General Jack Conway (right)
Martin Cothran Martin Cothran
Paul Chitwood Paul Chitwood
Urvashi Vaid Urvashi Vaid
Mary Grayson Batts Mary Grayson Batts

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Three weeks ago, Federal Judge John Heyburn started the ball rolling on changes to same sex marriage laws in Kentucky, ruling same sex marriages performed in states or jurisdictions outside Kentucky should be recognized by the Commonwealth. Tuesday, the ball rolled right into the middle of the states top Democrats.

Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway took opposite views on how to handle Heyburn's decision.

Governor Steve Beshear maintains he has to defend state law, while Attorney General Jack Conway says he won't defend discrimination. Which had plenty of people asking if the moves were more about human beings or politics?

Those who support Kentucky's voter ban on recognizing same-sex unions were defending the Governor and attacking the Attorney General. The Family Foundation's Martin Cothran said of Conway, "I don't know any attorney who quits because there's a chance he might lose." 

"Colorado has legalized marijuana, why would that not be the next issue in Kentucky?" Paul Chitwood, the Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director asked. "We know we can't count on Jack Conway to defend us."

Urvashi Vaid, a Columbia Law School director, was visiting the University of Louisville Tuesday night to discuss the gay rights movement. She stated her opinion on what she thinks is going on with Conway. "Lawyers like attorneys in general find themselves in an interesting situation," she said, "It happened with Attorney General Eric Holder at the federal level and it's happening with your attorney general at the state level."

Vaid said Conway is an awkward position with the task of defending a law that he believes is now unconstitutional. "The constitution is pretty clear," Vaid said, "Equal protection under the law should not be denied to anybody."

A group of UofL students and teachers who gathered to discuss LGBT issues with Vaid said Conway's move brought them joy and the Governor's follow up pain. One teacher called the move disheartening and disappointing.

Freshman Mary Grayson Batts said, "I was really hoping, he (Beshear) wouldn't, but honestly it doesn't surprise me."  Grayson Batts said as someone brought up by two moms all she can do is be hopeful. "I think it's important for us to move forward into the 21st century and allow people basic human rights."

Senior James Wood agreed believing Conway's decision will light a fire behind the gay rights movement.  

Unless a higher court gets involved, Kentucky will have to no choice but to allow same-sex couples married outside the state the same benefits other married couple are now allowed.

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