Kentucky sure knows how the pick ‘em, don’t they? Governor Matt Bevin, Tea Partier and Kim Davis’s BFF, was sworn in on Dec. 9, but he has wasted no time when it comes to dismantling anything that’s good about the state. Granted he’s the second Republican to hold that office in forty years, but when it rains it pours, I guess.
Some say the fact that Bevin’s strong support of Davis and his stance against marriage equality helped him win the office and that may be true. Kentucky is one of the least supportive states when it comes to marriage equality with only about 33% in support.
This is not surprising considering that 75% of Kentuckians bothering to vote in 2004 voted in favor of amending the state’s constitution to read, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
But, of course, the Supreme Court told the state where to shove that amendment and voters were so freaked out that they ended up electing Bevin over his Democratic challenger Jack Conway, Kentucky’s former Attorney General who refused to support the state’s marriage ban in court. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear did it instead even though he knew they would lose. And now the state is faced with a pretty staggering legal bill to pay.
According to the The Courier-Journal, the lawyers who won the case for marriage equality are seeking $2,091,297. That’s a big chunk of change. Gov. Beshear offered to settle for about a quarter of that before he left office, but that offer was declined.
And so now it’s up to Gov. Bevin to make things right. Which he is surely eager to do. I mean, this is a guy who visited Kim Davis in jail and who once said that marriage equality might lead to parents marrying their children for tax and inheritance purposes.
He’s also got fringe right-wing groups calling on him to “nullify” the Supreme Court ruling on marriage, which basically means he’s being called upon to thumb his nose at the Court and say, “I’m rubber and you’re glue, what you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” It should be noted that “nullification” isn’t really a thing.
While Bevin was braiding Davis’s hair in the visiting room at jail, he called for Gov. Beshear to issue an executive order getting rid of County Clerk names from marriage licenses, essentially giving Davis an easy out to exercise her “religious freedom.”
Bevin himself issued this executive order soon after taking office.
He’s also hell bent on making life worse for the majority of Kentuckians. He plans on slashing the voter rolls, taking money away from public schools to give to private schools, lowering the minimum wage for government workers, weakening unions by making it harder to collect dues, and ditching kynect, the successful state run health insurance exchange that has been hailed as a model for the rest of the country.
So congratulations, Kentucky. While you were mad about gays marrying, you voted against your own interests. Life is about to get worse for people who are poor, yet marriage for same-sex couples isn’t going anywhere. It’s a lose-win, really. Let’s hope the Democratically controlled House of Representatives can try to keep the wheels on this train, because Bevin doesn’t appear to believe in rails.