Yesterday, I wrote this column for The Huffington Post, applauding Kentucky’s Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson and Auditor Adam Edelen for their brave announcements this week in support of marriage equality. Here’s an excerpt:
Edelen & Abramson
As I proudly watched public sentiment dramatically shift on the subject over the past few years, I still didn’t expect any active statewide politicians in my old (conservative) Kentucky home to join me. After all, a recently released 2012 poll showed that support for marriage equality among Kentucky voters dramatically trailed the national average — at an embarrassing 33% approval clip.
Worse, in the recently-concluded session of the Kentucky General Assembly, a vast majority of Democratic and Republican legislators joined together to override Governor Steve Beshear’s brave veto of legislation — posed misleadingly as a “religious freedom bill” — that could undermine ordinances in Lexington and Louisville that protect the LGBT community from job and housing discrimination. If politicians couldn’t stand for simple fairness, how could they be brave enough to support marriage equality?…
But then the unexpected happened. First Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson, the former uber-popular “Mayor-for-Life” of Louisville announced his support:
“I don’t believe government should judge which adults can and which cannot make a loving, life-long commitment to each other. That’s why both Madeline and I support marriage equality for all adults.”
And then, within a few hours, Auditor Adam Edelen — who at 38 is one of the Democrats’ bright young stars — declared his support, arguing:
“I believe equal protection of the law and equality of opportunity are central to the American experiment and they ought to apply to every American.”
Click here to read the full piece.
Well, it turns out that the 33% statewide support for marriage equality might be a bit generous. Publicy Policy Polling (PPP), a Democratic-leaning consulting firm surveyed the state this week and reported today the following news:
Support for gay marriage is on the rise nationally but it’s going to be a long time before Kentucky voters get behind it. Only 27% of voters in the state think it should be legal, compared to 65% who think it should be illegal. Even among Democrats there’s still 37/54 opposition. 52% of Kentuckians do though support at least civil unions for same sex couples compared to only 44% who believe those relationships should receive no legal recognition at all. That divide- opposition to marriage, support for civil unions- is what we find throughout most of the south.
So this clearly demonstrates that Abramson and Edelen — two popular politicians taking a serious look at the 2015 gubernatorial race — have taken a big political risk to do what they thought was right.
Accordingly, if you too support marriage equality, I urge you to thank Jerry Abramson and Adam Edelen for their statements. We are always bad-mouthing politicians that disappoint us. So, why not thank true leaders when they make a selfless, brave announcement? And if they accrue some political mileage out of their actions, it will encourage others to follow their lead and join the marriage equality bandwagon.