KY opponents, advocates react to NY same sex marriage law
By Bennett Haeberle WDRB News firstname.lastname@example.org
LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- As same sex couples in New York marked the historic weekend with legal gay marriages, both advocates and opponents agree Kentucky is unlikely to legalize same sex marriage anytime soon.
But gay rights advocates say the majority of Kentuckians are "more willing" to extend fairness laws throughout the state than they were in 2004, when voters agreed to a constitutional ban of gay marriage.
"I'd say Kentucky still has many years before we begin to tackle (same sex marriage). First we have to pass a statewide fairness ordinance, which would prohibit firing someone from their job or kicking them off a bus because of their perceived sexual identity. All of that is still legal in Kentucky," said Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign.
But conservative lobbyists with the Family Foundation say Kentuckians have already made their voices loud and clear in strong opposition to same sex marriage, according to Andrew Walker, a policy analyst with the group.
"I think one thing that gay rights groups are successful at promoting is this myth of inevitability. This idea that given enough time, this is going to pass. I just don't see that happening," Walker said.
The reason: Kentucky was one of 11 states to constitutionally ban gay marriage in 2004. Voters approved the measure by a 3 to 1 margin. Reversing that would require lawmakers and the public to repeal the amendment to Kentucky's constitution.
"But times are changing and each year things get progressively further towards fairness," said Hartman, who pointed to fairness groups popping up throughout the state as evidence that people are more accepting.
Walker says his group's opposition to gay marriage "is that the traditional family with a mom and dad and kids is a tradition that can't be tampered with."
A posting on The Family Foundation blog refers to New York's "titantic mistake on marriage."
But Chris Hartman says Kentucky could – some day – follow in New York's footsteps.
He says the first order of business would have to be passing a statewide fairness law.
"I believe that in 2012 we will probably see the first ever committee hearing on a statewide fairness ordinance," said Hartman.
"The likelihood of this happening in Kentucky is extremely rare anytime in the near future," said Walker.