My legs are getting tired from all this jumping up and down. Gay rights victories have been coming fast and furiously, lately. Won’t list them all; they’re all over the news.
Today there was another one, this time in Kentucky. Each time another region of the country wakes up and smells the coffee, you feel some hope, particularly when that region has in the past been associated, fairly or not, with moonshine, keeping women barefoot and pregnant and the belief that that the world is only 6000 years old.
At last count, same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states, in D.C., and in 8 tribal jurisdictions. That leaves 31 with a ban still in place, although all of these bans have now been challenged. In 13 of these states, Kentucky included, the bans have been struck down but the rulings have been put on hold pending appeal, and it is interesting to note no rulings have gone the other way. That is, where they have been challenged, no courts have decided so far in favor of keeping the bans.
That throws the fight into the arena of the appeals. How, once the courts, by overwhelming consensus, have decided the bans are unconstitutional do you make your case? What is left of a case to be made?
Look to Kentucky for one answer. There, when a U.S. District Court Judge, John G. Heyburn, decided Kentucky's ban on performing same-sex marriages – or recognizing such marriages from other states – was not constitutional, it fell to the state’s Attorney General to file an appeal. However, the state’s Attorney General, Jack Conway, a Democrat, decided he wouldn’t pursue an appeal, and that tossed the fight into the governor’s lap. Governor Steve Beshear then hired outside counsel to defend the state’s ban. The person he tapped for the job was Leigh Gross Latherow, a woman you’d think would have a brain in her head. Her web page says she has represented people in “race, age, gender and disability discrimination, retaliation and harassment” cases. Well and good. Then how come she fills her defense of Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage with evidence that the population drops in Germany and Japan have caused those countries financial difficulty?
It's like watching the law of entropy, where things go from the sublime to the ridiculous, from a highly competent judge to an AG who tells you through his tears that he has prayed over his decision and decided to go with the flow, to a governor who says, in effect, "Gimme that damn thing - if you won't do your duty, I will!" He then turns it over to Ms. Loopy-Loop who ignores all explanations from her legal predecessors as to just how silly it is to use procreation as a reason for withholding the rights to marry when everybody knows many who marry don't procreate and many who procreate don't marry. She then writes a brief in which she outlines how much financial difficulty Japan and Germany are in due to their shrinking populations, and ...
Latherow makes the argument - and I still can’t get it through my head that a reasonable person would come up with this! - that if we allow gay people to marry there will be fewer real (i.e., man-and-woman) marriages and therefore fewer children will be born and therefore the population of Kentucky will be at risk.
She has a law degree and has been practicing in Kentucky and Ohio for over twenty years.