Metro Weekly

Attorney who represented Kentucky gay marriage plaintiffs to run for Congress

Case of Dan Canon's clients was combined with Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized marriage equality

Dan Canon (second from left), with his fellow attorneys and clients, celebrating the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision – Photo courtesy of Dan Canon, via Facebook.

One of the lawyers who argued against Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage has announced he will run for Congress in 2018.

Dan Canon, a 39-year-old civil rights attorney from New Albany, Ind., has announced he’s jumping into the race for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, which is centered in Bloomington and travels along part of the Ohio River on the Indiana-Kentucky border, encompassing some Indiana-side suburbs of Louisville.

Canon, a first-time candidate, works as an attorney for Clay Daniel Walton Adams PLC, where he specializes in cases involving civil rights and constitutional law. In 2013, he was part of the legal team that represented Gregory Bourke and Michael DeLeon, and eventually three other couples, who challenged Kentucky’s refusal to recognize their legal Canadian marriage and their status as parents to DeLeon’s two adopted children.

That case, known as Bourke v. Beshear, was eventually combined with several other same-sex marriage cases from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals into what is now known as Obergefell v. Hodges and was argued before the Supreme Court. The high court issued the subsequent 5-4 decision that legalized marriage equality nationwide.

Canon issued a statement announcing his candidacy and obliquely referencing his work on behalf of civil rights, and against government and big corporations. 

“I became a lawyer to help people. I get up and go to work every day to fight for the Davids who are being crushed by the Goliaths,” he said. “I’m running for Congress for the same reason.”

Should he win the Democratic nomination for the seat, Canon would face off in November 2018 against first-term Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, a multimillionaire and former businessman from Jeffersonville.

“Our current political system works against the basic interests of regular citizens to serve the interests of a handful of wealthy people. Nearly half of eligible Hoosiers are so discouraged they don’t even vote,” Canon said in a statement that was reminiscent of the anti-Washington rhetoric utilized by former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“Big corporations, and the politicians they bought and paid for, have spent decades turning us against each other so we don’t notice they’re robbing us blind. It’s time we recognize that we’re all in this together and hold the the right people accountable.”

Given the size of the district he wishes to represent, Canon will hold two campaign kickoff events on Thursday, July 6, at the Greenwood Public Library in Greenwood, Ind., at 9:30 a.m., and at the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington at 1 p.m.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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