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Kentucky Judge Thinks Men Don't Hug Anymore Because Gay Marriage

Kentucky family court judge Tim Philpot
Kentucky family court judge Tim Philpot

The judge called same-sex marriage an oxymoron akin to "jumbo shrimp." 

Kentucky Family Court Judge Tim Philpot, who routinely rules on cases involving adoption by gay people, believes that the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling on marriage equality has ruined hugging.

Philpot, a judge in Fayette County Circuit Court in Lexington, told the Francis Asbury Society, a religious group, in a September 8 address that the "biggest bugaboo" with the freedom to marry is that legal recognition for same-sex love has made it difficult for heterosexual men to be close to each other, The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported this week.

"I meet with men four or five times a week and we hug," said Philpot, who has been a standing judge since 2004. "We love each other at a certain level. I don't hug the way I used to."

He said this realization "hit me like a ton of bricks" at a Starbucks last year.

"There was a man there, probably 45 years old," Philpot explained. "He had his arm around a young man who was about 20, and I would say there was a 90 percent chance it was just a father and son, but I had this moment when I thought -- hmm -- I wonder what's going on. They're getting a little too close. They are making me uncomfortable."

Philpot's speech to Francis Asbury, a religious organization located in Wilmore, Ky., was intended to promote his recent book, Judge Z: Irretrievably Broken. In the text, Philpot laments what he sees as the demise of marriage, as fewer couples are tying the knot.

Marriage rates have indeed reached historic lows in recent years. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated, there were just 6.9 marriages per 1,000 people in the U.S., down from 8.2 in 2000.

Philpot appeared to suggest that marriage equality is the cause for straight couples deciding not to marry. Referring to the Supreme Court decision as "pretty close to insane," he called same-sex unions an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp" or "magnificent Chihuahua."

"There is no question that polygamy is on the way," he concluded.

In addition to what he considers its deleterious impact on the institution of marriage, Philpot believes that marriage equality has also been harmful and confusing for children.

"Now kids not only have to decide which girl to date, or which boy to date, they've got to decide which gender to date," he said. "There is not a 12-year-old or 13-year-old or a 14-year-old in Fayette County, Ky., that doesn't have to decide 'Am I gay or am I straight?' Man, I'm telling you, that is some kind of abuse."

Philpot also said LGBT people have "stolen" the rainbow, which he called a cherished biblical symbol. He wants to reclaim it.

"I'm gonna put one on the back of my car because I'm not going to let them steal it," Philpot promised. "I'm gonna take it back. I'm gonna drive around town with my rainbow ... and let them think what they want."

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky LGBT group, suggested the judge's beliefs could prove a conflict of interest.

"Clearly has a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be LGBT, chalking it up to some arbitrary choice children must make," Hartman said in a press release. "Personally, I would never want Mr. Philpot making decisions about my family, given the fact he has deep disrespect for LGBT people and their families."

Philpot claims that he has never let his personal affect his job.

"My views on the deep spiritual nature of marriage," he told the Courier-Journal, "have never stopped me from following the law and being fair to all people, including those who identify themselves as LGBT."

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