Dora James, the Western Kentucky Regional Organizer of the Fairness Campaign, led the 50 or so people at the Federal courthouse in downtown Bowling Green Friday afternoon in a chant of "What do we want?" "Fairness" "When do we want it?" "Now". And for supporters of same-sex marriage, they got that fairness Friday morning when a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have a right to be married anywhere in the country.

The decision reverberated all across the country immediately and all day long up to and including the courthouse where James addressed the rain-soaked crowd saying, "So on this day love won for all Americans including all Kentuckians. This time yesterday there were only 37 states in the country with marriage equality and today there's all 50 of them. So how fantastic is that?"


Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton to be a lifetime honorary trustee of the University of Kentucky, where Gatton is the largest single donor.

Gatton has given more than $45 million to his alma mater, including $20 million for a new student center. That gift is the largest in UK's history. The Carol Martin Gatton Academy for Mathmatics and Science on the campus of Western Kentucky University is named in his honor.

Gatton's last term as a trustee ends this month. Honorary status makes him a non-voting member of the board.

Beshear said the designation would allow the board to continue to benefit from Gatton's "wisdom, counsel and guidance."

The number of Kentucky hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns has continued to skyrocket.

The number of hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns in the state rose 48 percent last year, compared to 2013.

Those 1,409 hospitalizations last year represent a 50-fold increase from just 28 hospitalizations in 2000.

According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, admissions of drug-dependent babies to U.S. hospitals nearly quadrupled from 2004 through 2013.

Dr. Veeral Tolia, a Texas doctor and lead author of the journal article, says the surge is a result of a recent national opioid abuse crisis.

Researchers say more pregnant women are being prescribed painkillers, which both raises the risk of having a drug-dependent baby and can sometimes lead to abuse and addiction.

WKU Public Radio is proud to announce that our recent Rally For Radio was a huge success!

Thanks to the generosity of our listeners, we were able to wrap things up Friday evening with the money needed to reach our fiscal year fundraising goal.

The staff at WKU Public Radio wants to say a sincere “thanks” to every listener who is a member of this station. Your gifts make the programs possible, and ensure that we qualify for important matching grants.

Thank you so much for your support!

Gregory Bourke

A Louisville couple was in the U.S. Supreme Court chambers witnessing Friday's landmark decision that makes gay marriage the law of the land. 

Gregory Bourke says he and his husband of 11 years felt a sense of great relief.

"I was in the courtroom with my husband and we were holding hands, Bourke told WKU Public Radio.  "We just looked at each other and it was like a great weight came off our shoulders."

Bourke and Michael De Leon were legally married in Canada in 2004 and have two adopted children.

Under the Supreme Court ruling, the commonwealth must now allow gay unions and recognize those marriages performed out of state.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky, which vigorously opposed same-sex marriage said the justices are a "court gone rogue."  
Senior Policy Analyst Martin Cothran said the people of Kentucky have been betrayed by the decision because the people of the state voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to define marriage as between one man and one woman.


WKU Constitutional law scholar Dr. Patty Minter says she wasn't surprised by Friday's ruling, she's just surprised it happened so fast. "The court and nation as a whole have been moving in this direction for some time," she said, "but the speed of it all is what fascinates me."

She told WKU Public Radio that very seldom do you see the central mass shift and a change happen so quickly, but "in the past few years there's been a sea change in the way the American people think about equal rights as they apply to same sex couples and LGBT people as a whole."

She said she expected the ruling to be a split decision since this will be the last time dissenting Justices will get to have their say on the matter and have their opinions published. And she said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, cemented his place in history.

The ruling means that not only does Kentucky have to allow same sex marriages, the state now also has to recognize as legal same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The decision does not compel religious institutions to perform same-sex marriages if they're morally opposed to it, but Minter says, "This says all people are created equal and now LGBT Americans are included under that umbrella."

President Obama called the Supreme Court's decision affirming the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry a "victory for America" that had "made our union a little more perfect."

In the 5-4 decision, Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion of the court, saying the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states in the South and Midwest, including Kentucky and Tennessee, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. [The petitioners] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right,” Kennedy wrote.

As expected, Kennedy was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts, considered a wild card in the case, wrote a dissent joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, who each filed dissents of their own.

“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not Celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it,” Roberts said, making the rare decision to read part of his opinion from the bench.

The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, was named for lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell, an Ohio man who sued the state because it wouldn’t list him as a surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate. The two had been married in Maryland before his husband, John, died of ALS. (Hodges is the director of the Ohio Department of Health.)

The combined case also included plaintiffs from three other states that don’t currently recognize same-sex marriages: Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee.

The Court is still due to announce rulings on mandatory minimums for violent gun offenders, power plant pollution, lethal injection drugs, and gerrymandering.

With a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected any day now, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says state agencies are making preparations should the justices vote to allow gay marriage. 

"One area would be in taxation," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.  "Our revenue department is looking at that in terms of filing a joint married return."

The wording on marriage license forms would also have to change to accommodate same-sex couples. 

Beshear said his administration has anticipated the ruling going each way and have steps in place to comply if the nation's highest court orders the commonwealth to allow and recognize same-sex marriages.

Many legal scholars expect the Supreme Court to strike down Kentucky’s prohibition on gay marriage.  A federal judge last year struck down the ban, but a federal appeals court reversed the ruling.

Kentucky officials say a company that will design, build and install automated machinery for manufacturers will open a facility in Hodgenville.

Governor Steve Beshear's office said Wednesday that Karbec LLC plans to create 48 jobs and invest $1 million in the project in central Kentucky.

Karbec will mainly serve the automotive industry but will expand into other sectors as well.

Karbec officials say most of the company's competitors are in Canada and the Detroit area. They say the increasing number of automotive manufacturers in Kentucky makes the commonwealth a good fit.

State officials say Kentucky is home to 465 motor vehicle-related establishments, including four major auto assembly plants.