Conway won't appeal Judge Heyburn's ruling on same-sex marriage, but Beshear will

03/04/2014 10:24 AM

In an emotional statement, Attorney General Jack Conway told reporters Tuesday that he will not appeal U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other states. But moments after Conway announced his decision, Gov. Steve Beshear said he will appeal the ruling.

“General Conway has advised me that he will no longer represent the Commonwealth in Bourke vs. Beshear. The State will hire other counsel to represent it in this case, and will appeal Judge Heyburn’s decision to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and ask the court to enter a stay pending appeal,” Beshear said in an emailed statement.

Beshear, in his statement, said the matter will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, but anticipated a further stay on Heyburn’s ruling until the appeal is decided.

“Without a stay in place, the opportunity for legal chaos is real. Other Kentucky courts may reach different and conflicting decisions. There is already a lawsuit underway in Franklin Circuit Court, and other lawsuits in state and federal courts are possible,” Beshear said. “Also, people may take action based on this decision only to be placed at a disadvantage should a higher court reverse the decision.”

However, Conway said the case “will likely not survive on appeal.”

“We cannot waste the resources of the Office of the Attorney General pursuing a case we are unlikely to win,” Conway said.

With tears streaking Conway’s face he said he has “prayed over the decision” and thanked his wife for providing counsel.

“For those who disagree, I can only say that I am doing what I think is right. In the final analysis, I had to make a decision that I could be proud of – for me now, and my daughters’ judgment in the future,” Conway said.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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