Kentucky Attorney General will not appeal federal judge’s ruling in marriage case

Today, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced that he would not appeal a federal judge's Feb. 12 opinion ordering the state to respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. The Governor of Kentucky announced shortly after AG Conway's press conference that he would be seeking private counsel to appeal the ruling.

Attorney General Conway said:

From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right, and in light of other recent federal decisions, these laws will not likely survive upon appeal. We cannot waste the resources of the Office of the Attorney General pursuing a case we are unlikely to win.

There are those who believe it’s my mandatory duty, regardless of my personal opinion, to continue to defend this case through the appellate process, and I have heard from many of them. However, I came to the inescapable conclusion that, if I did so, I would be defending discrimination.

That I will not do. As Attorney General of Kentucky, I must draw the line when it comes to discrimination.

Read the full text of Attorney General Conway's speech HERE

The announcement comes just a few days after U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn finalized his February 12 opinion in Bourke v. Beshear, which sought recognition for same-sex couples' legal marriages performed in other states. One day later, the judge granted the state's request for a 21-day stay in the ruling, meaning that the decision would take effect on March 20. Last week, the judge also allowed two unmarried same-sex couples to intervene in the case, now referred to as Love v. Beshear, in order to seek the freedom to marry in the state. 

Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director Marc Solomon applauded Conway's decision today. He said:

Today's decision by Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway was the right thing to do on both constitutional and moral grounds. He joins multiple other attorneys general across the country - not to mention his own state's federal judge, a Republican, in standing on the right side of history. Freedom means freedom for everyone - and that includes the freedom to marry the person you love. We will continue to make the case across the country that Kentucky, the South, and all of America is ready for the freedom to marry."

Conway is now the seventh Attorney General to refuse to defend marriage discrimination, following similar moves from the AGs in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia, and most recently, Oregon. Each of these attorneys general refused to defend the anti-marriage laws, declaring them unconstitutional and indefensible.

Freedom to Marry celebrates Attorney General Conway's refusal to defend marriage discrimination in Kentucky. With his support and the continued support of so many public officials who understand the importance of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, we can continue to advance marriage for all.

Read more about Bourke v. Beshear, and keep up on all of the marriage litigation - 49 cases in 26 states - HERE.