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GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Attack Jack Conway For Not Defending Gay Marriage Ban

Gage Skidmore, Flickr (Creative Commons License)
Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Republican candidates for Kentucky governor say presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway isn’t fit to serve because he would not fight a challenge to the state’s same sex marriage ban.

Conway refused to defend the ban last year, saying the law is discriminatory. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside counsel to defend the law.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, one of four Republicans seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination, said not wanting to defend a law shouldn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with the constitution or not. When you take that oath to uphold the constitution, you represent the people of Kentucky,” Comer said.

Louisville businessman and Republican frontrunner Hal Heiner said that Conway should have been required to defend the constitutional amendment.

“It felt like when Jack Conway decided after swearing an oath to defend our constitution to not defend our constitution was a move that disqualifies himself for constitutional office,” Heiner said.

Gay marriage is unpopular in Kentucky—Bluegrass Poll results from March showed that 57 percent of Kentuckians oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

The challenge to the state’s ban on gay marriage will be heard by the nation’s highest court later this month.

The candidates spoke at a debate in Louisville. 

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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