Attorneys representing Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) argued that banning marriage equality serves the state's economic interests by protecting the birth rate, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Friday.
Beshear filed a personal appeal against U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II's February 2014 ruling which said the state had to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state, and that the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages "lacked a single rational basis for Kentucky's adoption of the traditional man-woman marriage model." Kentucky Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway (D) refused to appeal the ruling, saying he thought the ban was unconstitutional.
Beshear was instead represented by outside counsel, which filed a 32-page brief to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday.
"Same-sex couples are materially different from traditional man-woman couples," attorney Leigh Gross Latherow argued in the appeal. "Only man-woman couples can naturally procreate. Fostering procreation serves a legitimate economic interest that is rationally related to the traditional man-woman marriage model."
The appeal was a direct response to Heyburn's statement in his ruling that using procreation as a defense for marriage equality bans "makes just as little sense as excluding post-menopausal (heterosexual) couples or infertile couples."
While Latherow did not explain how allowing same-sex couples to marry directly affected heterosexual couples' procreation rate, she did argue that a lower birth rate was connected to a decline in the work force and demand for goods and services, using economic setbacks in Germany and Japan as examples.
Attorney Laura Landenwich, who represented the four same-sex couples involved in the case challenging the state ban, criticized Latherow's argument to the Lexington Herald Leader.
"This is not a rational basis for state interest in who can marry. You don't, when you apply for a marriage license, have to check a box stating that you will procreate. Marriage is about a lot of things — love, sharing, responsibility. Children can be a big part of that, but they aren't present in every marriage."
Latherow's brief, as posted by the Courier-Journal, can be read in its entirety below.
[Image: Gov. Steve Beshear, by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons]