FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear defended his role Wednesday in arguing that a ban on same-sex marriages is needed in Kentucky because only opposite-sex couples can procreate, thus ensuring a stable birth rate and the state's long-term economic stability.
In striking down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage earlier in the week, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II said the state's arguments to uphold the ban "are not those of serious people."
Asked during a Capitol news conference his reaction to the judge's statement, Beshear first said the state will appeal the ruling to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Noting that he has been a litigation lawyer, Beshear said the job of every lawyer is "to get every argument out in front of the court so they can make a decision."
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Beshear said similar arguments are being made "all across the country in different states, just like a number of arguments are."
He said his sole purpose for filing the appeal is that "every Kentuckian deserves to get an answer on this very difficult and controversial issue."
He recalled that 74 percent of Kentuckians voted for a constitutional amendment in 2004 to ban same-sex marriages in the state.
"I've got friends on both sides of the issue, and they feel very passionate about it," he said. "My job is to make sure every Kentuckian gets an ultimate answer to know what the law of the land is."
Beshear declined to offer his personal opinion on same-sex marriages.
Told that some of his critics are comparing his actions to that of the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who tried to block integration at the University of Alabama in June 1963, Beshear said that "people on both sides of this issue are very passionate and very emotional, and I understand that."