Kentucky set to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

11:20 AM, Mar 4, 2014   |    comments
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (USA TODAY) -- Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced Tuesday morning that he would not appeal a federal judge's ruling ordering the state to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed outside the state.

"Judge (John) Heyburn got it right," he said at his Frankfort office.

By appealing, he said, he would be defending discrimination "and that I will not do."

Conway said he had prayed on the decision and felt he is doing what is right. He said that he was sworn to defend both the constitutions of Kentucky and the United States.

"It's about placing people over politics," he said.

He began choking up at the end of the statement before leaving without taking questions.

Heyburn had put enforcement of his order on hold for 20 days to allow state officials time to figure out how to implement the ruling. Conway and Gov. Steve Beshear had asked Heyburn for a 90-day reprieve.

Heyburn's stay until March 20, announced Feb. 28, came about one hour after a hearing at which Assistant Attorney General Clay Barkley had argued that the state needs to meet with local and state agencies to see what laws, rules and policies will be affected and to ensure that all 120 counties respond consistently.

Heyburn's order to the state requiring the recognition of same-sex marriages performed out-of-state came after a Feb. 12 ruling that Kentucky laws and its constitutional amendment banning the recognition of same-sex marriages violate the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

He made that order final Feb. 27, meaning it was in effect briefly before the Feb. 28 stay.

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