Politics
7:58 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Explains Decision to Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Order

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he knows marriage equality supporters are upset with his decision to appeal a federal ruling requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages.

But the governor adds that he wants advocates to know further action is needed to prevent what he calls the “legal chaos” that would arise from too many contradictory rulings.

"We had a lot of conversations about this issue, and as I said, he wrestled with it, and I wrestled with it. We ended up coming to different conclusions. And I respect the decision he made, and I think he respects mine." - Steve Beshear

“I’m doing this as much for your future as I am for anybody else’s future," Beshear said. "We’ve got to get this matter settled, and it’ll be settled more quickly if we move ahead without any contradictory opinions in this state and get this opinion up on appeal and find out what the law is going to be.”

Beshear also says he expects the issue to go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The lawsuit was initiated in summer 2013 by Louisville resident Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon, who were married in Canada in 2004. That same year, Kentucky voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage. In his order last month, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn struck at the framework at that ban and ordered the state to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. (Same-sex couples seeking the ability to get married in Kentucky have since joined the lawsuit.)

Last week, Heyburn issued a stay on his order until March 20. In a statement this week, Beshear said the state will seek a stay pending the planned appeal.

Attorney General Jack Conway announced this week that he won't appeal Heyburn's order. Conway says same-sex marriages should be fully legal in Kentucky, and to do otherwise would amount to discrimination.

While Beshear refuses to state his personal opinion on gay marriage, he contends that an appeal is the quickest way to get the matter settled, and that he and Conway simply reached different conclusions.

“We had a lot of conversations about this issue, and as I said, he wrestled with it, and I wrestled with it,"Beshear says. "We ended up coming to different conclusions. And I respect the decision he made, and I think he respects mine.”

Related: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to Appeal Federal Judge's Same-Sex Marriage Order

A request for proposals for attorneys to handle the appeal was issued Wednesday; the deadline for proposals is Friday.