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Kentucky will hire outside counsel to appeal order in same-sex marriage case after AG Jack Conway announces decision not to appeal

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Kentucky state sealThe Associated Press and others are reporting that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has said he won’t appeal the federal district court’s order requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. However, the governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, said moments later that he will appeal the order and hire outside counsel to defend the state’s position:

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal a judge’s decision granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married in other states and countries.

Beshear’s announcement on Tuesday came moments after Attorney General Jack Conway said he would not ask a higher court to review the decision.

USA Today has more. He hasn’t said who he’s considering hiring as outside counsel. Both the governor and attorney general are Democrats.

Same-sex couples in Kentucky who sought to intervene in the case to challenge the state’s ban on marriage equality have been allowed an opportunity to argue that issue. EqualityOnTrial has reported previously that briefing from the intervening plaintiffs will be completed by May 28. The briefing schedule:

Answer to Intervening Complaint on or before March 19, 2014

Motion and Memorandum for Relief by Plaintiffs on or before April 18, 2014

Response to any motions by Plaintiff or other Amicus Parties on or before May 19, 2014

Reply to any motions by Plaintiff on or before May 28, 2014

The district court earlier imposed a 21-day stay on the initial order requiring recognition of marriages from other states. Based on the stay, the state has until March 20 to implement the district court’s order or appeal it.

Buzzfeed has the full statements from the governor and attorney general.

An earlier version of this story stated that AG Conway had declined to appeal, and that meant the order would be implemented. The Associated Press edited its article to include the governor’s statements immediately after.

For more information on Love v. Beshear (formerly Bourke v. Beshear) from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. peterplumber  |  March 4, 2014 at 11:10 am

    They haven't learned anything from the recent BLAG incident?

  • 2. bythesea  |  March 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Not the same. The Gov. definitely has standing and he is authorizing this. It would be different if the legislature tried to do this on their own authority I'd anticipate.

  • 3. Chuck in DHS  |  March 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Total waste of taxpayer's money. Doesn't the Governor realize it's a losing battle?

  • 4. Bill  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    …because they don't have anything else to spend their money on…I suppose?

  • 5. MNBOB  |  March 6, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Why do AG's do this? They should defend the law but do a piss-poor/subpar job of it. That way these cases must be decided on merits and cant be dismissed on technicalities.

  • 6. Schteve  |  March 9, 2014 at 12:59 am

    The court isn't restricted to just arguments presented to them. If judges want to pull some rationale out of their asses, they are allowed to. If all the defendants refuse to appeal rather than appeal and argue poorly, the lower court ruling really will be the final word on it.

  • 7. Equality On TrialBriefing&hellip  |  March 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    […] outside counsel to defend the non-recognition provisions after state Attorney General Jack Conway declined to defend those […]

  • 8. Equality On TrialNotice o&hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 12:44 am

    […] attorney general, Jack Conway, declined to appeal the decision, but Governor Beshear hired outside counsel to work on the […]

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