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Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Picks Ashland Firm to Appeal Federal Judge's Same-Sex Marriage Order

Update 5:30 p.m.: The ContractThe contract between the state and the Ashland firm runs from Thursday through June 6. There's a $100,000 cap on payments to the firm, the document said.Here's the structure: $125 per hour for partners; $90 per hour for associates;  and $40 per hour for paralegals.Here's the contract. Seven firms responded to the state's request for proposals, but one of them is a paralegal firm that the state considered "non-responsive" and went unevaluated, according to state documents.Three of the firms were from Kentucky—VanAntwerp; Miller, Griffin & Marks out of Lexington; and Kinkead & Stilz out of Lexington. The others were Liberty Counsel of Lynchburg; Kyle Duncan/Duncan from Washington, D.C.; and Bradley Arant Boult Cummings of Nashville.  Earlier: An Ashland, Ky., firm will be responsible for appealing a federal judge's order that Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriage.The firm is VanAntwerp, Monge, Jones, Edwards & McCann, LLP.A quick refresher: U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ordered that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriagesafter a Louisville couple (and then others) sued the state in case called Bourke v. Beshear. He's ruled that Kentucky's 2004 same-sex marriage ban violates the equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Heyburn also issued astay on the order until March 20.Last week, Attorney General Jack Conway said he wouldn't appeal Heyburn's order. Same-sex marriage supporters cheered, but only briefly. That's because Gov. Steve Beshear quickly announced that he'd hire outside counsel to do the appeal on the state's behalf.The VanAntwerp, Monge, Jones, Edwards & McCann will also represent the state in other legal matters on the same-sex marriage issue, the govenror's office said.The state issued a request for proposals on Tuesday after Beshear announced his plan to appeal. The deadline was initially Friday, but it was moved back to Tuesday "to allow respondents ample time to ask questions and gather information before finalizing their proposals," a spokeswoman for the governor's office said.As I noted last week: It lists the rate as $125 per hour for a partner in a firm, $90 per hour for an associate and $40 per hour for a paralegal, plus some expenses. The fee guideline was set out by the Legislative Research Commission.Attorney Leigh Gross Latherow with the Ashland firm referred questions to the governor's office.Dan Canon, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said: "We intend to represent our clients zealously but professionally and courteously, no matter what firm represents the Beshear administration."Canon and other attorneys in the case, Love v. Beshear (formerly Bourke v. Beshear) are also representing same-sex couples seeking to get married in Kentucky.They're also representing Indiana couples challenging that state's laws barring same-sex marriage.We're also awaiting some documents from the state, including the contact with the firm. We'll update when we get responses.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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