Is Beshear v. Conway same-sex marriage clash clarity v. conscien - News, Weather & Sports

Is Beshear v. Conway same-sex marriage clash clarity v. conscience?

Attorney General Jack Conway Attorney General Jack Conway
Governor Steve Beshear Governor Steve Beshear

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Attorney General Jack Conway says his tears were genuine, but unintended, when he shed them Tuesday while explaining why he would not appeal a federal court ruling ordering Kentucky to recognize and grant legal status to same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Rather, he insists it was about being on the right side of history.

"At some point, my wife sat me down and she said 'Jack, you stink when you're not authentic," Conway told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday.

"I had gotten to a place where I just felt I would be defending discrimination. We've got little daughters 4 and 2. This is gonna be their judgment of you in the future'" Conway said his wife admonished. "And that's when my decision was confirmed."

"We're not out here to demagogue this issue at all," Governor Steve Beshear had said earlier.

Some scholars argued Beshear not only has the right, but the duty, to challenge the ruling in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Section 69 of Kentucky's Constitution vests "supreme Executive Power" in the Governor, while Section 81 requires the Governor "take care the laws be faithfully executed," specifically Kentucky's own voter-approved Amendment banning same-sex unions.

Again Wednesday, Beshear declined to say whether he favors or opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry or to be granted legal recognition of a civil union.

"I have friends on both sides of the issue, and I'm sure they are disappointed," Beshear said. "But what I would say to them is 'I'm doing this as much for your future as I am for anybody else's future.' We've got to get this matter settled."

The Governor's Office issued what amounts to a Request for Bids; attorneys willing to defend the Commonwealth's stand against recognizing same-sex unions. Each would be paid $125 per hour, the state rate. Judge John Heyburn has stayed implementation of his federal order until March 20.

The Governor won't say whether he wants Kentucky to win its appeal, only that it's more important to define where same sex couples, and Kentucky's law, stand.

"And then whatever the court says Kentucky's gonna follow it," Governor Beshear said.

Beshear and Conway, both Democrats, both deny that political considerations factored into their decisions. Both are term-limited. Beshear's son Andrew plans to run for Attorney General in 2015. Conway has acknowledged his interest in the Governor's race.

"I had counselors telling me this is gonna be political suicide for you," Conway said Wednesday. "But I had to make a decision I could be proud of."

The Attorney General said he believes he was appropriately zealous in his defense of Kentucky's laws and the will of its people.

"I did my duty, and I think I did my duty when I said I'm not going to appeal," Conway said. "If people like you look up and say he had his moment and that cost him the governor's race well, I'll have my head held high."

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