Attn. Gen. Conway seeks to delay impact of expected ruling in Ky. same-sex marriage case for 90 days

By John Cheves

jcheves@herald-leader.comFebruary 27, 2014 Updated 11 minutes ago

FRANKFORT — Attorney General Jack Conway wants a federal judge to delay for 90 days the impact of his expected order requiring Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Clay Barkley, a lawyer for Conway’s office, filed a motion requesting the 90-day stay on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Louisville.
“This will give defendants time to determine if they will appeal the order, and the executive branch time to determine what actions must be taken to implement this court’s order if no appeal is taken,” Barkley wrote.
“Should defendants elect to appeal from any final order, they reserve the right to seek a stay for the duration of an appeal,” Barkley wrote.
Judge John G. Heyburn II, whose final order in the case is expected Thursday, said at a Wednesday hearing that he does not plan to issue a stay delaying his order from taking effect, so the state should decide quickly if it wants to appeal. At the time, Barkley told the judge the state planned to decide “very promptly.”
“There could be some confusion” among Kentuckians who quickly seek legal benefits stemming from their same-sex marriages, such as joint tax-filing status, if the state appeals 30 days later and delays the implementation of the order or throws its future into question, Heyburn cautioned on Wednesday.
Heyburn’s preliminary ruling on Feb. 12 struck down portions of a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment defining marriage in Kentucky as between one man and one woman, and prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.
Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Conway, said the attorney general and his senior staff discussed the case late Wednesday and concluded it would be prudent to request a delay, during which the state could consider “the legal ramifications” of appealing the final order or letting it go into effect.
Conway and Gov. Steve Beshear, both Democrats, are jointly deciding how the state should proceed, Martin said.
Earlier Thursday, the conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky issued a statement criticizing Conway for not adequately defending the state’s laws against same-sex marriage after the lawsuit was filed last year, leading to Heyburn’s decision.
“This is a betrayal of Kentucky voters,” said Family Foundation policy analyst Martin Cothran. “The only thing missing is the thirty pieces of silver.”

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