kentucky_atorney_general_defies_governor_wont_defend_gay_marriage_banThe attorney general of Kentucky has defied the state’s governor and in a remarkable and moving speech has refused to defend a ban on same-sex marriage in court.

Last month, US District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky’s gay marriage ban violates the constitutional principal of equal protection. The ruling was suspended pending an appeal from the state.

However, in an emotional speech on Tuesday, Attorney General Jack Conway said that he is not only obliged to defend the state’s constitution but also the US constitution.

“Judge Heyburn got it right,” Conway said, explaining that after some soul searching he decided that he and his office could not take on the appeal process to defend the gay marriage ban.

“I came to the inescapable conclusion that if I did so I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do,” he said.

“As the attorney general of Kentucky I must draw the line when it comes to discrimination…

“I prayed over this decision. I appreciate those who provided counsel, especially my remarkable wife, Elizabeth,” said an emotional Conway before becoming teary-eyed and pausing to compose himself.

“In the end this issue is really larger than any single person; it’s about placing people over politics,” he asserted.

Governor Steve Beshear soon after released a statement saying he will go ahead with the appeal but that he will bypass the attorney general and hire an external legal team to challenge the judge’s ruling.

Conway joined the attorneys general of California, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well the Attorney General of the United States, in concluding that discriminatory marriage laws are inconsistent with the US Constitution.

“Attorney General Conway has sent a strong message that discrimination is indefensible,” commented Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.

He added that ,”It would be wrong to waste taxpayer dollars defending Kentucky’s archaic ban on marriage equality.”

Currently 29 American states have constitutional amendments restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Same-sex couples can legally marry in 17 states and in Washington, DC. The Kentucky appeal joins other same-sex marriage court cases in Utah, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Texas that are all in the appeal process.

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