New bill insulting to same-sex couples


Illustration by Ben Wade

Editorial Staff

In the wake of Kim Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, Kentucky lawmakers have proposed a bill that would create a second marriage license as an option for gay couples. The new form would be the same certificate, except for two changes. 

The new certificate would include an option to check “party one, party two,” where it originally would say “groom, bride.” Both forms would also include a box to define gender, although this would be optional.

This bill seems like another ploy to undermine same-sex marriage in Kentucky. Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Jefferson, called it a “disparate treatment of gay couples.” 

“What this bill does is rebuild criteria on Kentucky’s marriage license forms themselves,” McGarvey said. “This is not about the marriage debate, this about the form itself.”

McGarvey said that two certificates was not just a social justice issue, but an issue of allotting unnecessary resources to create a new form. 

“I don’t think we need two forms,” McGarvey said. “One form would be cheaper, less confusing, and ensures that nobody in Kentucky is treated differently than anybody else.”

Sen. Steve West, R-Paris, proposed this new bill. According to the State Journal, West said legalizing same-sex marriage has changed the meaning of the word marriage as it pertains to the law. 

While it is true that the definition of marriage has changed, developing a second form could create a new divide. 

Kirbey Bruce, co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, said the second form should read differently. 

“I feel like the necessary form is one that doesn’t have gender words on it,” Bruce said. “I do understand for historical reasons having gender on the form, but it’s not necessary.”

People of different gender identities, like transgender and transsexual people, can get married. The form that would make most sense would have no gender-specific terms like groom or bride. 

Alex Baxter, the other co-president of the GSA, said the best way for people to support the LGBT community is to get out and use their voices.

“Make sure people stress how important it is, and then we can get people in office that are friendly to the community,” Baxter said.

Josh Mers, chair of Fairness Campaign, deals with education and advocating for the LGBT community. Mers said this bill will likely pass, and recent history proves that Kentucky county clerks might not even follow the law.

“What’s to say that the clerk is just going to then say ‘I don’t have that form in stock,” Mers said. “We’re giving more barriers for folks to adhere to the Supreme Court decision. We just don’t need that.” 

Lexington is one of the few progressive cities in Kentucky for same-sex equality. To keep regressive bills like this from passing, the LGBT community will need its supporters to make their voices heard. 

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