Wrong or Rights? Part One

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

The issue of same-sex marriage has been grabbing national headlines this week as hundreds of couples in Mass. become legally wed.

In an effort to prevent such scenes in Kentucky, lawmakers have sent a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriages and civil unions to the ballot for November.

Kentucky's constitution has been amended less than any other state constitution, and WKU political science professor Dr. Scott Lasley says this amendment is an attempt by lawmakers to pass the proverbial buck.

"Clearly a situation where they can put an amendment before the voters and say we gave you a choice. In their mind they came off as the hero saying 'Very democratic process,' but there is a certain element of it that they're passing it off on the voters," Lasley said.

Three-fifths of the members of the House and Senate must vote in favor of a proposed amendment for it to be sent to the ballot, where a simple majority of votes is needed to ratify.

Same-sex marriage supporters and opponents are lining up to argue their case before the public in the next six months. Dr. Lasley says the idea of voters having the final say in referendum votes such as this may be good in principle, but not always in practice.

"Advocates for it argue that it's really an example of good government. But what turns out is you end up seeing a lot of outside money and a lot of outside forces come in and fight it out. And I think you'll see here that a lot of conservative, pro-family groups will be coming in and spending money," Lasley said.

Three other states have similar amendments on their November ballots: Georgia, Utah, and Mississippi.

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