Frankfort, KY, United States (4E) – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday he will hire an outside counsel who will appeal a federal judge’s ruling against a state law banning recognition of out-of-state gay marriage after the attorney general refused to appeal the case.
Beshear also announced that he will ask U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II to stay or delay his order indefinitely while they appeal his ruling before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Heyburn’s stay of his order striking down a 1998 state law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from outside the state lapses on March 20. The judge also struck down a 2004 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
The governor’s announcement came moments after Attorney General Jack Conway said he would not appeal the case and would not pursue any more stays because it would be tantamount to “defending discrimination” and would waste state resources in a case that could not be won.
Conway said he believes Heyburn’s decision is right and sees an appeal as futile.
One of the gay couples who filed a lawsuit against the 1998 state law and 2004 constitutional amendment was thrilled by Conway’s decision but shocked by Beshear’s announcement. Dan Canon, one of the lawyers for the four same-sex married couples suing Kentucky, said the governor’s decision was disappointing because it essentially waste taxpayer money.
In its own reaction, religious conservative group Kentucky Baptist Convention called Conway’s refusal to appeal as a dereliction of duty.