The Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear has said that a ban on same-sex marriage is not discriminatory to gay people.
He claims that since straight people can’t marry people of the same gender either, it is not homophobic to ban same-sex marriage. He made the argument in a brief filed with the Supreme Court, which is currently debating the issue of same-sex marriage.
Critics have pointed out its similarities to arguments made about interracial marriage. In the 1967 landmark case Loving v Virginia, Richard Loving, a white man, fought for his right to marry Mildred Jeter, who was black. The state of Virginia argued that laws against interracial marriage where not discriminatory since black and white people were equally barred from marrying each other.
Dan Canon, a lawyer for the couples currently fighting the same-sex marriage ban, said: “Kentucky is in essence saying that our clients are precluded from marriage entirely, unless they change their sexual orientation (or simply marry someone to whom they are not attracted). It’s akin to passing a law banning all Catholic churches within city limits, and then saying it’s not discriminatory because you can still go to a Baptist church.”
Gov. Beshear’s lawyer said in the submitted brief that it was not discriminatory since the law applied to both straight and gay couples, and opposite-sex marriage was “the formation of relationships that further the commonwealth’s fundamental interest in ensuring humanity’s continued existence.”
She also said the LGBT people did not deserve legal protections as they had not proved themselves capable of security enough political power, or gaining enough popular support.
Sam Marcosson, a law professor at the University of Louisville told The Courier Journal: “I wonder what Governor Beshear and his lawyers would say if the shoe was on the other foot, and if the only option for marriage was of the same-sex variety.
“Marriage inequality has really hit a new low.”