The Attorney General, as the top lawyer for Kentucky, refused to honor his oath of office by declining to pursue the federal appeal to defend our Constitutional definition of marriage. In an effort to combat this, I cosponsored, Senator Sara Beth Gregory's Senate Bill 221, that would give legal standing in this sort of litigation to the Senate President or House Speaker so one or both could intervene. This bill also includes an emergency clause making it effective immediately upon passage. The bill addresses the legal term "standing," and given the circumstances that term seems all too appropriate. The official bill summary and link to the full text is available, but here is an excerpt:
(1) The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, in their official capacities, shall have standing to intervene in, and participate as agents of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Kentucky General Assembly as a party in, any judicial proceeding in which the constitutionality of any Kentucky statute or constitutional provision is challenged, if the Governor or the Attorney General:
- (a) Declines to defend a statute or constitutional provision;
- (b) Defends a statute or constitutional provision in a manner deemed inadequate by the Speaker or the President; or
- (c) Declines to present as affirmative defenses interests in the law that the General Assembly relied upon when voting to enact the statute or constitutional provision.
(2) If the Speaker or the President intervenes under subsection (1) of this section, he or she shall be a party to the judicial proceeding in addition to the Governor and Attorney General or, if intervening under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, instead of the Governor or Attorney General.