|Political prostitute Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear|
Just as the dominoes eventually fell favor of the good guys in the gay marriage battle, now we are witnessing another form of dominoes falling: GOP governors and GOP attorney generals who jump happily jumped to prostitute themselves to the Christofascists in the party base are now receiving the legal bills from successful marriage equality plaintiffs who are seeking payment of their legal fees against states that continued to defend unconstitutional anti-gay marriage bans. Kentucky is the latest state to have the cost of bigotry and religious zealotry brought painfully home to it as it receives a bill for $2.3 million in legal fees - $2.3 million that could have been better spent on countless other things. Ideally, these bills should be paid personally by the governors, attorney generals and/or members of GOP controlled legislatures that made self-prostitution to Christofascists their top priority rather than looking out for the rights of ALL state citizens. The Lexington Herald-Leader looks at the situation. Here are highlights:
Gov. Steve Beshear hired lawyers to defend the state of Kentucky's ban on gay marriage for two years in the federal courts, arguing that Kentuckians deserved "finality and understanding of what the law is."
Understanding can be expensive. Two months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage, teams of attorneys who successfully represented the same-sex couples have submitted a bill for more than $2 million in legal fees, court costs and related expenses. Under federal civil rights law, the losing party — in this case, the state of Kentucky — gets stuck with the tab.
Total cost to taxpayers: $2,351,297.
In a statement Monday, Beshear said he would challenge the plaintiffs' legal bill as "unreasonable." U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III gets the final say.
So far, courts have sympathized with the couples' lawyers. Last year, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II, who died in April, awarded the lawyers $70,778 in legal fees and court costs for the early stage of their fight in district court. On his own initiative, Heyburn tossed in a $10,000 bonus, saying the lawyers "undertook a difficult, unpopular case and achieved remarkable success." That award was put on hold pending the appeals.
In their filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Louisville, nine attorneys for the same-sex couples specified who worked how many hours as two separate lawsuits — Bourke vs. Beshear and Love vs. Beshear — wound their way through the district court, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Beshear acknowledged the state must pay "reasonable attorneys' fees" to the victors.
Attorney General Jack Conway initially represented the state, but he dropped out of the case in March 2014 after Heyburn sided with the couples and ruled that Kentucky's ban was arbitrary and unconstitutional.
"From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right, and in light of other recent federal decisions, these laws likely will not survive on appeal," Conway said at the time. "We cannot waste the resources of the office of the attorney general pursuing a case we are unlikely to win."
Beshear, of course, cared nothing about winning. Sadly, it was all about pandering to the gay-hating Christofascists in the Republican Party base. Now, all Kentucky citizens are footing a portion of the cost of appeasing the hate-filled religious extremists.