- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Court hearing gay marriage arguments from 4 states

CINCINNATI (AP) - A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in six gay marriage fights from four states - Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee - in the biggest such session on the issue so far.

Three judges of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will consider arguments Wednesday that pit states’ rights and traditional, conservative values against what plaintiffs’ attorneys say is a fundamental right to marry under the U.S. Constitution. Large demonstrations are expected outside the courthouse by both opponents and supporters.

Michigan’s and Kentucky’s cases stem from rulings striking down each state’s gay marriage bans. Ohio’s case deals only with the state’s recognition of out-of-state gay marriages, while Tennessee’s is narrowly focused on the rights of three same-sex couples.

Attorneys on both sides in the Michigan and Ohio cases will go first and get a half-hour each to make their cases. Kentucky and Tennessee will follow, with 15 minutes for each side from both states.

Hundreds of gay marriage supporters rallied Tuesday at a park near Cincinnati’s riverfront on the eve of the court arguments.

The Rev. Mary Moore of Dayton, interim minister at the Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church, says she has performed many services of “holy union” for same-sex couples, but they are not recognized by the state.


Senate campaigns seek votes in eastern Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s competitive U.S. Senate race shifts east this week as both campaigns fight for votes in the heart of the state’s coal country, a historically Democratic stronghold that experts say has been weakened by the unpopularity of Democratic President Barack Obama.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Mitch McConnell will both bring in reinforcements for their eastern Kentucky campaign swings. Former President Bill Clinton, who won Kentucky twice and is making his second trip for Grimes, will raise money for Grimes in Lexington and rally voters in Hazard on Wednesday.

McConnell, meanwhile, will be joined byHal Rogers for a 10-county bus tour on Thursday and Friday. The Republican congressman has represented eastern Kentucky for more than three decades and has partnered with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear lately on a bipartisan plan aimed at lifting the region out of poverty.

“Clearly eastern Kentucky is a battleground. Votes are up for grabs, more so than any other Democratic nominee has had to deal with up to now,” said Mike Ward, a Democratic consultant and former congressman.

Eastern Kentucky has struggled economically for generations, and now is grappling with the decline of the state’s coal industry. Kentucky is still the nation’s third-largest coal producer, but eastern Kentucky alone has lost 7,000 coal-related jobs since 2012, according to the Kentucky Coal Association.

The Grimes campaign blames McConnell, who they say has not done enough to help eastern Kentucky during his 30 year tenure. But the McConnell campaign blames Obama and his energy policies that they say have handcuffed the state’s coal industry.

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