Fellow Republican Mitch McConnell calls him a “pathological liar.” He thinks fellow Tea Party activists are the new “abolitionists, suffragists, and civil rights leaders.” And on Tuesday night, Republican Matt Bevin beat Attorney General Jack Conway against the odds by a 52.5 percent to 43.8 percent margin, thus getting elected Kentucky’s next governor.
The win isn’t just bad news for Kentucky Democrats, either.
Here’s five reasons Bevin’s surprise win is a troubling development for the LGBTQ community:
1. He Thinks Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead To Parents Marrying Their Children
Right Wing Watch reports that in 2014, Bevin appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show, where he ranted against “judicial activism,” and assured the antigay talk show host that he’d be a powerful opponent of marriage equality in the Senate, asking her:
“Where do you draw the line? If it’s all right to have same-sex marriages, why not define a marriage — because at the end of the day a lot of this ends up being taxes and who can visit who in the hospital and there’s other repressions and things that come with it — so a person may want to define themselves as being married to one of their children so that they can then in fact pass on certain things to that child financially and otherwise. Where do you draw the line?”
“And if in fact a person can arbitrarily draw it here, why not could someone else draw it arbitrarily somewhere else? There needs to be rule of law. Marriage has for millennia been defined as that between a man and a woman universally.”
2. He’d Rather The Government Get Out Of “The Marriage Business” Altogether Than Allow Same-Sex Marriage
After the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, Bevin was hardly reticent about voicing his displeasure, penning a long-winded diatribe on his website in which he promised to protect the rights of religious county clerks.
“It is understood that Kentucky must uphold the new law and find a way to process and recognize same-sex marriage,” he writes. “However, that does not mean we must do so at the expense of the constitutionally afforded religious liberties of other Kentucky citizens.”
“Ultimately, I believe the government should be out of the marriage business altogether. We can comply with the law while protecting our citizens’ rights to freedom of religion simply by separating the religious covenant of marriage from the legal, contractual relationship established by marriage as recognized by the state. The two are separate and they should be treated as such. Two consenting adults should not need to ask for permission from the government to enter into a contractual relationship – a license should not be needed. As with other contracts, the government’s role should be limited to recording, interpreting, or enforcing such contracts in times of dispute.
3. He Has Friends In High Places Who Are Highly Homophobic.
As an example of just how antigay Bevin is, it’s worth noting that his candidacy was endorsed by Erick Erickson, the far right wing Fox Fews contributor and Red State editor-in-chief.
As The New Civil Rights Movement notes, a solid example of Erickson’s toxic views on homosexuality are neatly summed up in an editorial piece he wrote in February for Red State, in which he seriously suggests that the “divide between Islamic extremists and gay rights extremists is death.”
4. Speaking Of Friends, Bevin And Kim Davis Are Thicker Than Thieves
Unlike Pope Francis, Matt Bevin really did give Kim Davis his “absolute” backing. Speaking of her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he said, “I absolutely support her willingness to stand on her First Amendment rights. Without any question, I support her.”
Following Davis’ arrest, Bevin visited her in prison (along with Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz), once again posted to his website:
“It is utterly unnecessary that Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, is sitting in a jail cell, when there is a simple solution that would respect the rights of every Kentuckian. I first put this solution forward many weeks ago. Why the cowardly silence from our Attorney General, Jack Conway? Jack Conway violated his oath of office as Attorney General when he refused to defend our state in court. Where was our Governor then demanding his resignation? The double standard applied in this case is reprehensible.”
In the below clip, things get heated as CNN’s Don Lemon asks Bevin to comment on Kim Davis’ hypocrisy regarding the “sanctity” of marriage. Bevin limply argues that her past actions are moot since she’s now converted to Christianity:
Bevin quickly learned that voters were more keen on discussing social issues than economic ones. “I hear more about those now as I’m out on the campaign trail than I do about anything else,” he told The Washington Post. “This is what moves people.”
While campaigning through Kentucky, he even had volunteers hand out postcards branding him “the only candidate for governor that has stood up for traditional marriage and religious liberty.”
For her part, Kim Davis wasted absolutely no time in issuing a statement on Tuesday to congratulate Bevin, thanking him for his past support:
“I congratulate Matt Bevin on his win. I am ecstatic. He is such a genuine and caring person. I will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail. At a clerks’ meeting he hugged me and said he was praying for me.”
Here’s a picture of Bevin hanging out with Kim and her fourth husband, Joe:
5. His victory suggests a long-predicted gay rights backlash may be nigh.
It’s hardly a coincidence that Kim Davis decided to file her appeal the day after Matt Bevin was elected and the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance failed by a wide margin. In a GQ column published today, Mike Hofman notes that:
Though the arc of the moral universe famously bends toward justice (Dr. King promised us this), it’s also true that for every action there is typically an equal and opposite reaction (Sir Isaac Newton came first). And as of this week, it seems that we are now entering a period, both politically and possibly socially, in which the good news for gay rights will likely be undermined and undone in a million ways large and small.
Watch Bevin speak to a defiantly pumped-up crowd shortly before Kim Davis is released from jail: