Local News

Independent candidate for governor Gatewood Galbraith says he would support lifting Kentucky’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but he won’t campaign on the issue.

In an interview with WFPL News, Galbraith said the issue is divisive, and he won’t make it part of his platform.

“I don’t even want to know. If people want to make that commitment to each other, that’s fine with me,” he says. “Right now we have a constitutional prohibition against it, if it comes down to a referendum, depending on the wording of the referendum, I could probably support it.”

The full interview:

When asked whether he would support a statewide ban on discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, Galbraith said he’s against discrimination, but doesn’t want to give anyone special rights. He met with the Louisville Fairness Campaign this week. Campaign Director Chris Hartman says Galbraith told the group he would support a statewide fairness law.

Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear won the Fairness Campaign’s endorsement in the last election. Republican candidate David Williams did not return the campaign’s survey on LGBT issues. The campaign’s endorsement in this election is expected next week.

Galbraith also discussed his position on mountaintop removal and coal mining in general. He is the only candidate opposed to the mining technique, saying it’s too damaging to the environment. Similar but less severe surface mining techniques are more prevalent in Kentucky, and Galbraith told WFPL he wouldn’t try to stop those if elected.

“Fact is, we need to mine coal responsibly,” he says. “I realize that strip mining or surface mining is an allowable practice, but that doesn’t mean I’m not committed that the laws regarding it and the reclamation regarding it is followed.”

Galbraith says coal is not as important to the state’s economy as many politicians make it out to be, and coal companies should be more responsive to the communities they operate in.

Beshear has been an outspoken opponent of certain coal regulations. Galbraith criticized the governor’s stance, saying the executive branch should look out for citizens.

“That’s where the buck stops on this right here. Governor Beshear getting up there and saying ‘EPA get off our backs,’ he’s a corporate shill. He’s up there for the millionaire. He’s also come out and lobbied on behalf of payday lenders for people who charge these poor people 460 percent interest on these payday loans.”

Legislation capping the annual payday loan interest rate at 36 percent has consistently died in the General Assembly, and many supporters of the legislation blame the failure on the millions of dollars payday lenders spend lobbying.