Conway failed citizens by not appealing ruling

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Editorial, Bowling Green Daily News

 In November 2004, Kentuckians overwhelmingly passed an amendment to Kentucky’s constitution that said marriage shall be between one man and one woman. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized, the constitution states.

During that year, 13 states passed similar amendments. Many of these amendments were in large part because activist judges, mainly in the Northeast, were overriding the people’s will and allowing gay marriage in those states.

Kentucky voters didn’t want that to happen here, which is why more than 70 percent of them approved the measure.

It is a Kentucky law and should be respected, whether one agrees with it or not.

On Feb. 12, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II issued an opinion that Kentucky’s ban on recognizing out-of-state, same-sex marriages violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause in the 14th Amendment because it treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

This was Heyburn’s opinion. Fast forward to last week, when Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway asked Heyburn for a stay in the case so he could review it.

In a tearful news conference Tuesday, Conway announced he would not appeal Heyburn’s ruling.

Conway said by appealing he would “be defending discrimination. That I will not do.”

Regardless of Conway’s personal opinions about gay marriage, he took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and the state’s constitution.

By failing to appeal this ruling, we believe Conway is not living up to that oath.

That’s a shame. As the highest-ranking law officer in this state. he has a duty and a responsibility to his constituents to stand up for a law that a large majority of our state supports.

Thankfully, Gov. Steve Beshear stepped in to appeal Heyburn’s ruling. Beshear announced the state will hire outside counsel for the appeal. It’s a shame outside counsel has to be brought in because we should be represented by our attorney general, but apparently he lacked the will to do so.

Beshear said the potential for “legal chaos is real” if a stay is not issued in the case while it is appealed. Beshear said these issues will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. “The people of this country need to know what the rules will be going forward,” he said. “Kentucky should be part of this process.”

We agree with the governor’s decision. The high court will ultimately decide this issue, and our state should be a part of that appeal.

Beshear’s actions are responsible. He put his personal opinions aside and looked out for Kentuckians.

Conway should take note of attorneys general in Utah, Kansas and Texas who have immediately appealed federal judges’ rulings similar to Heyburn’s.

These people actually get it. They realize they were bound by the oath they took and they acted on it.

Sadly, Conway turned away.