Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear argues that Kentucky's ban on gay marriage helps ensure the human race.

Appealing a federal court's decision ordering the state to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples, state lawyers say Kentucky has an interest in “ensuring humanity's continued existence.”

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn handed down his order on February 26.

After Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway declined to defend the state's ban in court, Beshear, a Democrat, hired private lawyers to do the job.

In response to plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, Beshear's hired counsel argue Kentucky's ban is rational and “consistent with sound economic policy.”

“It is axiomatic that procreation is vital to continuation of the human race and that only man-woman couples can naturally procreate,” the brief states. “Encouraging, promoting, and supporting the formation of relationships that have the natural ability to procreate furthers the Commonwealth's fundamental interest in ensuring humanity's continued existence.”

“The continued expansion of the population through stable birth rate growth fosters long-term economic stability, unquestionably a valid state interest. One need look no further than economic journals and news sources to see the correlation between a society's birth rates and its long term ability to support a strong economy.”

Beshear put forth similar arguments in previous briefs.

“Gay and non-gay couples marry for a bunch of reasons not related to birthrates and procreation, including love, commitment and proving a strong family setting in which to build a life with a partner and, for many, raise kids,” Evan Wolfson, a lawyer and founder of Freedom to Marry, said in response.

(Brief provided by Equality Case Files.)