This has been a busy and momentous summer at the state Capitol. Although most summers see the Legislature conducting regular interim committee meetings and contemplating legislative priorities for the following year, several significant dynamics have been at play this year.
Early in the summer, I was contacted by a pastor who has served as a chaplain at juvenile detention facilities in Kentucky. The Beshear administration demanded that he pledge not to share his Biblical beliefs regarding sexual orientation while counseling juvenile offenders who freely seek his advice. I was able to connect him with a legal team that is helping him protect his religious faith and calling.
In late June, the Supreme Court ruled in Oberfeldt v. Hodges—mandating the legalization of same-sex marriage throughout the nation. This is an issue that has been percolating throughout state legislatures for several years, but one on which the citizens of many states—including Kentucky—had clearly spoken through Constitutional amendments. In spite of that process, the Supreme Court literally overturned every state marriage statute in one fell swoop. The task of re-working federal and state-level statutes to meet this court mandate is monumental.
Within an hour of the Supreme Court’s decision, though, Governor Beshear released an updated marriage license form and declared that elected county clerks must abide by the new policy. In spite of widespread requests for the Governor to simply remove the clerk’s signature line from this mandated form (allowing those clerks whose religious faith makes their endorsement of same-sex marriage unconscionable), the Governor will not relent. Many members of the Legislature—including the Senate President—have echoed my call for the Governor to call the General Assembly into session in order to protect our clerks, but he has refused.
Also in mid-summer, the Center for Medical Progress began releasing horrific videos documenting Planned Parenthood’s practice of dismembering babies and selling their body parts. After numerous e-mails to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, I was able to confirm that the administration does allow taxpayer dollars to flow to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. Although Governor Beshear has said that he doesn’t “really see any issue to get riled up about”, thousands of Kentuckians are understandably outraged and disgusted by Planned Parenthood’s action. Many of you have contacted me to demand that your tax dollars stop flowing to this organization.
This pattern of callous disregard for religious liberty and the moral sensibility of Kentuckians is virtually unprecedented. And it is something I have been fighting against throughout the summer.
Please know that good things are happening. Grayson County is moving forward in being named a “Work Ready Community.” Businesses are growing and expanding—including Kelley Beekeeping in Clarkson. Still, Kentuckians are coming to realize that we are living in the midst of a cultural upheaval.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Threats to our liberty seem to multiply by the day—and not just overseas where despots rant and jihadists destroy.
Here at home, we must be proactive in defending the values that were handed down to us—so that we can pass the torch of freedom on to our children and grandchildren. I expect that the fall elections will be momentous on several of these fronts—and that these battles will continue to rage. Make sure you or your 18-year-olds are registered by October 5th to vote in the statewide elections on November 3rd. As your State Representative, I will continue to advocate for the 18th District and for the principles you expect me to uphold.