In a remarkable press conference for any state Attorney General — and particularly for one in a state like Kentucky — Jack Conway announced this week that he would not be appealing the U.S. District Court’s decision that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.
The video of his speech is fascinating, both for the content of his message and for his emotional reaction toward the end. Check it out:
I found it interesting that he noted that his duty as Attorney General was to provide the Commonwealth with a defense in the federal district court, but that the AG evaluated the federal judge’s ruling, he concluded that Judge Heyburn “got it right”. He concluded that given the string of recent court decisions, it was unlikely that a defense of the Kentucky laws would survive the appellate process, and that it wasn’t a prudent use of Kentucky’s resources to fight a losing battle.
Moreover, he came to feel that continuing to defend the law would be defending discrimination.
Now, looking forward: it’s not clear (at least to me) what this means for the possibility of actually getting married to a partner of the same sex in Kentucky. From what I’ve read, it looks like the lawsuit was specific to Kentucky’s recognition of same-sex marries in other jurisdictions, not whether the state can or must issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Either way, it’s a great development in the ongoing legal battles, and will surely set a strong precedent for full recognition of same-sex couples’ right to marry in Kentucky.