Acree, VanMeter face off at forum

Published 12:26 pm Friday, October 28, 2016

Kentucky Supreme Court candidates Glenn Acree and Larry VanMeter went head to head Thursday evening at the Clark County Extension Office during the Winchester-Clark County Candidate Forum.

Both candidates spoke extensively about their careers practicing law, both as judges and attorneys. Both touted their involvement outside the courtroom, with Acree talking about his involvement in various organizations active throughout the state and VanMeter discussing his Clark County roots.

On the issues, the candidates had much in common. When discussing gay marriage, both said they had personal beliefs about the issue and the way the U.S. Supreme Court came to its 2015 ruling that marriage does not necessarily have to be between a man and a woman.

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Acree said he believed the Supreme Court could have handled the decision in a better way.

“I think all the rights that are available to married heterosexuals ought to have been made available to homosexual partners who expressed affection toward one another and wanted to be together,” Acree said. “But that could have been done in a different way than taking an institution that started out as a religious institution — marriage — and converting it to something governmental. There was no real absolute necessity to do it that way but that’s what they did.”

However, both also agreed as a justice on Kentucky’s supreme court, their duty would be to uphold the decision from the highest court in the land.

Similarly, both said they would protect Second Amendment rights, but there are other, legal ways of implementing gun control.

“The Second Amendment is important and I would uphold it,” VanMeter said. “Please remember though that oftentimes cases come up to us in quirky, procedural ways. Every once in a while a case is decided procedural, so the result may look like it’s not decided the way we want or believe, so just always remember that.”

Where Acree and VanMeter disagreed was their criteria for determining who would be a better justice.

VanMeter leaned heavily on his experience, saying he has judicial experience at every level of the Kentucky court system and, if he is elected, would be only the third justice to have such a claim.

Acree said his engagement with the community has shown his commitment to bettering the state outside of the courthouse, and while people may not ever visit the chambers of other branches of government, they may very well go to court.

Contact Seth Littrell at