gay marriage

The judge whose ruling striking down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage led to an appeal heard this week in the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. He was 66.

WAVE-TV and The Courier-Journal, citing an announcement from the court, are reporting that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II died Wednesday at home after battling cancer for several years.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying Heyburn had delivered opinions in complex cases over more than two decades on the bench but would also be remembered for his devotion to his family.

Last year, Heyburn struck down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages from outside the state. The rulings were reversed on appeal, but the Supreme Court heard arguments on them Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday about whether states have the power to ban same-sex marriage. A dozen couples are challenging the bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ashley Lopez, WFPL

Kentucky’s case before the Supreme Court started with a conversation between attorneys Shannon Fauver and Dawn Elliott.

As they chatted in Fauver’s Louisville office, the U.S. Supreme Court was considering a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a piece of legislation that was an obstacle to same-sex marriage being made legal in the U.S.

“We were waiting actually for the Supreme Court on the Windsor case and at that point we didn’t know what the ruling was going to be—and they kept postponing,” Fauver said.

“And we were talking about what would happen next, like would be the next steps for anybody to take,” she said. “And we were talking about the fact that someone should file a lawsuit here, and we checked around and no one was talking about it.”

That conversation would lead to lawsuits that have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Six Kentucky same-sex couples and their attorneys are heading to Washington and the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments for their challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban will be heard by the high court Tuesday.

The twelve Kentuckians—most from Louisville—are asking the nation’s highest court to overturn a circuit court ruling that kept the state’s gay marriage ban intact.

Shannon Fauver and Dawn Elliott from the Fauver law firm in Louisville were the first to file lawsuits challenging the ban. Fauver says she’s still surprised their case got this far, "Dawn and I sit around sometimes and say, ‘look what we started.’ We had no idea this would be the case that goes to the Supreme Court when we started. " she said.

Kentucky’s case is bundled with gay marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
A ruling from the high court is expected this summer.

Updated at 5:04 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide on gay marriage this term.

The justices said today they will review an appellate court's decision to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. The four states are among 14 that ban same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court could decide this month whether it will consider same-sex marriage cases from Kentucky.

Last year, Kentucky same-sex couples challenged the state’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban, asking that their marriages from other jurisdictions be recognized. U.S. District Judge John Heyburn sided with the couples. Later in 2014, Heyburn ruled in a separate case that the state must also allow same-sex marriages to be performed in Kentucky. He also issued a stay on the decisions pending appeal.

Justices To Discuss Louisiana Gay Marriage Case

Dec 18, 2014

The Supreme Court has added the challenge to Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban to the agenda for the justices' closed-door conference on Jan. 9.

The action Wednesday does not mean the court will decide that day to hear a gay-marriage case. But the January meeting will be the first time the justices will have had the issue before them since they opted in October against taking up same-sex marriage.

The Louisiana case is unusual in that it has yet to be heard by a federal appeals court. But same-sex couples challenging an appellate ruling upholding bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee also could be considered by the court next month.

The justices would have time to hear and decide on gay marriage by late June, if they act in January.

The Tennessee attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a ruling last month that upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Instead, it wants the high court to let that favorable ruling stand.

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals marked a rare victory for gay rights opponents. But because it conflicts with gay marriage decisions in other circuits, legal observers believe it could push the Supreme Court to take up the issue of gay marriage.

In a Monday court filing, Tennessee argues that there is no need for the Supreme Court to review the case because both the 6th Circuit's opinion and Supreme Court precedent recognize the inherent power of the states to define marriage.

Beshear Asks Supreme Court To Rule On Same Sex Marriage Ban

Dec 10, 2014
Office of Ky Governor

In what some are calling an unusual move, Gov. Steve Beshear has filed a petition requesting the U.S. Supreme Court decide whether states can reject same-sex marriage.

It comes after a federal appeals court upheld Kentucky’s and several other states’ same-sex marriage bans.

Beshear says the nation’s highest court should decide whether states like Kentucky can prohibit same-sex marriage, and settle the question of whether Kentucky must recognize gay marriages performed out-of-state.

Same-Sex Couples File Supreme Court Appeal

Nov 14, 2014

Same-sex couples seeking the right to marry are asking the Supreme Court to settle the issue of gay marriage nationwide.

Appeals being filed Friday urge the justices to review last week's lower court ruling that upheld anti-gay marriage laws in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the first appellate ruling to side with states seeking to preserve gay marriage bans since the Supreme Court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law last year.

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