On the morning of February 25, 2016, Kentucky voters will vote on a ballot measure to overturn the state’s long-standing ban on same-sex marriage, as the Republican governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, and Democratic challenger Matt Bevins challenger, Greg Beshear, are expected to face off in the primary election on March 1.

The ballot measure is part of a national movement to allow same-gender couples to marry in Kentucky, and many have hailed the initiative as the culmination of a decades-long campaign for LGBT equality.

But in the US, the ballot measure has faced opposition from both political parties, with Republicans, including President Donald Trump, and Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, both supporting the measure.

The Kentucky initiative was also opposed by some religious conservatives who argued it would violate their religious beliefs.

But the issue has taken on a new urgency in the wake of the US election, as gay rights activists and some prominent Republican politicians have spoken out in support of same-marriage rights. 

The state of Kentucky is a battleground state for the 2016 US presidential election, and the Democratic candidates for president are Kentucky Governor Matt Bevens challenger Greg Bessears opponent Matt Beva.

The Republican candidates for President are Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshears Republican challenger Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, and Democrat Kentucky Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. 

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of Kentucky has grown by about 1.7 million people since 1980, and more than 7 million people of African American, Hispanic and Asian descent live in the state. 

Bevin’s campaign has said the ballot initiative is necessary to ensure that the state “continues to remain a welcoming place for all of our people.” 

“Today, Kentucky is poised to become a more equal state,” Beshearns campaign website states.

“Today, we’re going to take a historic step toward ensuring that we are truly, truly, and truly America.” 

Bevins campaign website, however, said the measure is “not a constitutional amendment and it is not about the separation of church and state, and I know from my own personal experience that a marriage equality ballot initiative that includes a provision for civil unions would not pass constitutional muster.” 

A group of more than 100 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Humanist Association, have issued a statement urging Besheares opponent to back down. 

“The American people are tired of losing and we’re tired of wasting money to try to make things up,” the Humanists said in a statement.

“Bevin and his allies need to take this opportunity to explain why they are so wrong about same- sex marriage.

In fact, we know from a wide variety of polls that a majority of Americans are in support and support same- gender marriage.” 

On January 31, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in a lawsuit brought by three Kentucky same-gendered couples challenging the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage, allowing the measure to be on the ballot. 

Kentucky Governor Matt Besheas challenger Greg Bevans campaign website Beshears campaign website The measure passed with the backing of Republicans in both the state House and Senate, and by a narrow margin in the Democratic-controlled state House of Representatives. 

But Besheare’s opponents have been quick to respond. 

In a statement on the same day the Supreme Court rejected the Kentucky ballot measure, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Bessear said he had “serious concerns” about the proposed amendment and the proposed constitutional amendment.

“While it is true that many of us have different views about same sex marriage, I will continue to work for equality for all, including LGBTQ people,” Besseare said. 

On February 1, Republican Senator Dan Coats, the first Republican senator to support same sex marriages, said in an interview with the New York Times that he would oppose the measure if he were governor.

“If the Republican Party wanted to pass a constitutional marriage amendment, I would probably be opposed to it,” he said.

“But, I am not, and there’s no reason to be.” 

In the run-up to the election, some of the most powerful politicians in the country weighed in on the issue, including Vice President Joe Biden, who told a crowd in Kentucky on February 4 that the Supreme and the Republican parties should be “just as committed to a civil union as the Democratic party”. 

“If you are in the party that doesn’t want to allow people to marry, if you are opposed to gay marriage or not, I have to say that I’m not going to vote for you in Kentucky,” Biden told the crowd. 

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, a co-sponsor of the ballot proposal, said last month that he did not think that the legislation