By Melissa Engle/Assistant news editor
It was a much-anticipated meeting for the College Republicans last Thursday night. Members of both the Pride Alliance and the College Republicans sat in attendance in the overcrowded conference room in the Powell Building anxious to hear what State Rep. Lonnie Napier had to say on the topic of same-sex marriages.
“I don’t care what somebody else does behind closed doors, that’s their business. But let me tell you this; I will never vote for their marriage equal to a man and a woman,” Napier said. “If God had of meant for two men to be able to marry, then He would have let them have offspring.”
At present Hawaii is the only state to allow a marriage between people of the same sex. Other states, including Vermont and Kentucky, have debated the idea of allowing civil unions.
The debate comes at a time when the entire country seems to be buzzing about same-sex marriages.
Challenging California law in February, City Assessor Mabel Teng openly performed the marriages of at least 15 couples at City Hall in San Francisco and issued nearly a dozen marriage license to couples.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome argued that California’s constitutional equal protection clause overrules state law and requires all persons to be treated equally.
Napier said civil unions are similar to marriages, allowing each partner to receive benefits such as Social Security and insurance.
Kentucky legislative House Bill 95 was withdrawn by its sponsor, J.R. Gray, D-Benton, during this past session. In 1998 some laws were passed denying the union of persons of the same sex, Gray said. The bill would have required a constitutional amendment and would be left to the voters to consider in November on the ballot. However, Senate Bill 245 passed and will allow Kentuckians to decide if an amendment to the state constitution will be made to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions.
Napier said he doubts if the voters of Kentucky will ever allow the marriages.
Denise Roberts agrees with Napier that such a law may never pass in the state of Kentucky.
Roberts is an openly-gay, 26-year-old Republican. She said she has been with her partner for six years and hopes one day to be able to marry her, though she said she doubts if Kentucky will be the place where it will happen.
“I deserve to be able to get married. Many other people have their boyfriend or girlfriend and they choose to get married. I have that commitment with my partner,” Roberts said. “I think I should be allowed to get married as well.”
Roberts believes civil unions lead to discrimination, as does fellow Pride Alliance member, Jen Maley.
Maley, a criminal justice major from Cincinnati, said the discrimination would result from having to claim status of married or together by civil union on tax documents, job applications or when applying to rent an apartment.
Roberts said she has been discriminated against here in Richmond because she is a lesbian.
“I was harassed right here in Richmond – that’s why I live in Lexington now,” Roberts said. She said a brick was thrown through her window.
John Wilson, chairman of the Garrard County Republicans, said that sort of behavior should be reported to the police. He managed Napier’s campaign. Wilson said for the preservation of the family, he agrees with Napier.
“It’s just been this way for 2,000 years or longer. Why change it?” Napier said.
Reach Melissa at