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Report: Kentucky's Failed Marriage Fight Could Be Costly


Kentucky’s legal costs for defending its same-sex marriage ban all the way to the Supreme Court could be in the millions.

With a decisive high court ruling rendered, Kentucky, along with every other state in the union, now knows where the law stands. But the Commonwealth’s unsuccessful legal campaign didn’t just cost the state its marriage ban. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the teams of attorneys representing the same-sex couples have delivered a bill totaling more than $2 million, to cover legal fees and other associated costs.

Add that to the roughly $231,000 tab for the private attorneys hired by the governor to defend the ban and the grand total exceeds $2.3 million.

While federal rules call for the losing party to cover the costs incurred by the winning side, Gov. Steve Beshear will have an opportunity to challenge the bill. 

Update: WUKY contacted Beshear's office and received the following statement.

"My decision to hire counsel to represent the state in Bourke vs. Beshear was necessary to bring certainty and finality to the question whether laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman were constitutional. At the time of the appeal, fractured laws and court decisions across the country concerning same-sex marriage had created an unsustainable and unbalanced legal environment and there was the opportunity for legal chaos. Kentuckians – indeed all Americans - needed a clear and certain roadmap. The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion this summer finally provided that clarity.  Because the Court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, the law requires that the state pay the plaintiffs’ reasonable attorney’s fees.  The key word here is “reasonable.”  Those fee petitions have recently been filed in both Bourke and in a virtually identical state court action, and we will be contesting those amounts as unreasonable. Until these issues are resolved we will not know the overall cost for both federal and state court cases."

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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