Editorial: Dear Frankfort, Kentucky Has Problems but Gays Aren't One of Them, So Get Serious
Boy, it must be nice to live in a state that isn't facing a disaster due to its pension liabilities. And in a state where education is championed and successful. A state where it is easy to climb from poverty, to overcome the loss of industry, and where individuals are treated with respect.
But, of course, we don't live in such a state. We live in Kentucky.
And Kentucky's pension liabilities are disastrous, its education system a joke, and images of poverty here look like something from the Great Depression.
But those are difficult problems to address and Frankfort is populated with opportunistic, grandstanding, unimaginative, ignorant, bigoted, and flat-out mean legislators. These lawmakers lack the courage, the strength, and the knowledge to make Kentucky a better place for kids to live, a more prosperous state for businesses to grow, and a healthier state where families can thrive.
So instead they waste our time and our tax dollars fighting desperately to keep the Commonwealth on the wrong side of history.
In Kentucky, where the stakes are always so high, why is State Rep. Joe Fischer (R-Ft. Thomas) wasting time and energy on a worthless attempt to skirt the United States Supreme Court's ruling that allows same-sex marriage nationwide? House Bill 572 was introduced in the House of Representatives this week and presented to its Judiciary Committee for review. The proposed legislation has been dubbed "The Matrimonial Freedom Act". It is a companion bill to HB 571, a proposed constitutional amendment that would only permit "matrimony" between one man and one woman as recognized in the Commonwealth.
For a state that worships the horse, Kentucky sure knows how to beat a dead one.
Fischer's laughable and desperate attempt to undermine the nation's highest court all because more people in Kentucky now have the same right to marry that he has, is not the only despicable and transparently hateful legislation to grace the floor of our General Assembly.
Already, the State Senate passed a bill that requires two separate marriage licenses in Kentucky. You guessed it: one for straight couples and one for gay couples.
Remember when southern hospitality was a thing? Kentucky doesn't.
Unsatisfied with its separate-but-equal marriage license legislation, lawmakers are also kicking around a piece of legislation that would gut local ordinances adopted in eight Kentucky cities that recognize that we live in the 21st century and that gay rights ought to be protected. We can't have Kentucky cities looking to mimic Sodom, Gomorra, or San Francisco, now can we? Nope! So lawmakers want to make sure that progressive corners of the Bluegrass State like Louisville, Lexington, Covington, Frankfort, Vicco, Danville, Midway, and Morehead stay frozen in time like a display at Big Bone Lick State Park. Senate Bill 180 would allow businesses to decline to offer their services to gay customers, without threat of repercussions.
These are the pieces of legislation that matter to some of our state legislators, currently gathered in the capital of a state that is on the bottom of every list you want to be on top of, and on the top of every list you want to be on the bottom of.
And now we climb towards the top of the list of the most unwelcoming, uncaring, and hateful states, too. And for what? Because homosexuality makes some of these legislators uncomfortable? Well, here's an idea: STOP TALKING ABOUT IT SO MUCH. Most gay people don't think about gay people as much as these lawmakers.
Many of us have seen society change and we're either cool with it or just recognize it for what it is, change. Change that has come about in the way that our system of government is designed for it to.
March Madness is a trademarked term used by CBS to promote the annual NCAA men's basketball tournament, a special time of year in Kentucky. It shouldn't also apply to the serious business of 21st century governance in a state that relies on 19th century industries and holds on to 20th century societal views. The stakes are too high. Joe Fischer and the others who have supported these unnecessary and heinous pieces of legislation are like that college basketball team that played a solid game until close to the end when the game is out of reach, but they keep fouling anyway, just to stretch out the clock and to make the crowd wait before it can truly celebrate victory.
These bills are intentional fouls.
Now, if only it were so easy to eject these legislators from the game.
Grow up, Kentucky lawmakers. Take a minute to look around and see the real problems facing this Commonwealth and if the best answers you have to our state's problems is to wage war on gay people here, then pack your things and go home. You are the wrong person for this job in this very serious time in our state's history.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News