Constitutional Law and Civil Rights

Governor Beshear Orders Defense Of Kentucky Gay Marriage Ban

BESHEAR ORDERS DEFENSE OF KY GAY MARRIAGE BAN: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said the Bluegrass State would hire a private sector attorney to defend the state's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. Beshear made the announcement last Tuesday shortly after state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) said he would not appeal a federal judge's ruling that struck down the law.

In a statement, Beshear noted that the legality of same-sex marriage bans is being litigated all over the country, and that decisions made in those cases have all been stayed pending the outcome of final appeals. Beshear said he believes the matter should be — and ultimately will be — decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Until then, he said, he has no choice but to seek a stay longer than the 20 days allowed by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II because "without a stay in place, the opportunity for legal chaos is real. Other Kentucky courts may reach different and conflicting decisions."

"Employers, health care providers, governmental agencies and others faced with changing rules need a clear and certain roadmap," he said. "Also, people may take action based on this decision only to be placed at a disadvantage should a higher court reverse the decision."

Conway said he could not in good conscience make the appeal Beshear wants because to do so would endorse discrimination. "That I will not do," he told reporters.

"In the final analysis, I had to make a decision that I could be proud of — for me now, and my daughters' judgment in the future," he said. (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, LEXINGTON COURIER-JOURNAL, USA TODAY)

SOCIAL POLICY: The MARYLAND Senate approves SB 212, which would add transgender people to the list of those who may not be discriminated against in employment, housing and public accommodations. It moves to the House (CAPITAL GAZETTE [ANNAPOLIS]). The ALABAMA House approves four abortion-related measures: HB 490, which would ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected; HB 489, which would extend the waiting period for a woman to obtain an abortion from the current 24 hours to 48 hours; HB 493, which would require that a woman seeking abortion because of a lethal anomaly be counseled on hospice options for the child if it were carried to term; and HB 494, which would require a minor seeking to obtain an abortion without parental permission to first prove her maturity in court, prove the reason she can't tell her parents about the abortion and provide evidence that it's in her best interest to get the abortion. All four move to the Senate (STATE NET, MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER).

OOPS A THOUSAND TIMES OOPS: As mistakes go, this was a big one. When a federal judge recently ruled that a Texas law barring same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, state Sen. Dan Patrick was incensed. All lathered up, he fired off a quick tweet that decried "activist judges" and asserted that marriage was strictly the union of "ONE MAN &" ...wait for it... "ONE MAN." What the what? No, the ultra-conservative Patrick had not suddenly had a change of heart on basic human rights — he's still against them — but in his rush to vilify the courts he made a simple error. Alas, no error tweeted out to the whole world just goes away. As the Los Angeles Times reports, within minutes hundreds of folks had retweeted his message, prompting him to send another one saying "Oops. We have a new job opening on our campaign: social media intern" with the hashtag #twittertypo. Oops, indeed.

— Compiled by RICH EHISEN

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