The legal counsel hired by Gov. Steve Beshear argues out-of-state gay marriages should not be recognized, because doing so does not promote natural procreation between a man and a woman and therefore threatens Kentucky's economic stability.
The legal brief was filed as the state appeals a federal judge’s ruling from February, striking down part of Kentucky’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign says the “procreation” argument is one that was used a generation ago.
“It’s an embarrassing and ludicrous regurgitation of some really archaic talking points," said Hartman. "It’s shocking that the governor would allow the legal team to use them.”
Judge John Heyburn’s ruling earlier this year declared Kentucky’s gay marriage ban violated the equal protection clause. The brief filed by Beshear’s legal team argues that because same-sex partners can’t naturally procreate, they aren’t entitled to equal treatment under the state’s marriage laws.
Indiana must recognize a gay couple’s out-of-state marriage for at least a few days more as a federal judge considers whether to extend an April order requiring the state to acknowledge the union.
U.S. District Judge Richard Young heard arguments Friday in Evansville on a request that the state recognize the 2013 Massachusetts marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler of Munster. Quasney is terminally ill with advanced ovarian cancer, and the couple fears Sandler’s ability to collect Social Security and other death benefits would be harmed if their marriage isn’t recognized.
Young granted the couple a temporary restraining order last month, but it is set to expire Thursday.
Attorneys for the state say there are other legal ways for Sandler to obtain property benefits after Quasney dies.
Indiana law defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The state does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions conducted in other states.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed a $100,000 contract with a private law firm from Ashland to represent him in appealing a judge's decision allowing state recognition of same-sex marriages.
Beshear announced Thursday that the state reached the deal with the firm of VanAntwerp, Monge, Jones, Edwards & McCann. The 11-member practice also has an office in Frankfort.
The attorneys will handle Beshear's appeal of a decision to overturn parts of a 2004 state constitutional amendment that barred recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.
Unless a federal appeals court steps in and halts the ruling, the state will have to start allowing same-sex couples to change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of a married couple in Kentucky on March 20.
Gov. Steve Beshear says his appeal of a judge's order to recognize same-sex marriages is meant to clarify the law. Beshear acknowledges that marriage equality supporters are disappointed with his decision to mount an appeal, even though Attorney General Jack Conway has opted not to.
Beshear says the appeal is needed to get the matter settled as quickly as possible and without Conway on the case, Beshear has sent out a request for proposals for attorneys to handle the state’s appeal.
While he refuses to state his personal opinion on gay marriage, Beshear contends that an appeal is the quickest way to get the matter settled, and that he and Conway simply reached different conclusions.
“We had a lot of conversations about this issue, and as I said, he wrestled with it, and I wrestled with it,” said Beshear. “We ended up coming to different conclusions. And I respect the decision he made, and I think he respects mine.”
A Republican state senator says he intends to file a bill that would permit a third-party to appeal a ruling that says Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
Sen. Dan Seum tells Kentucky Public Radio that if Attorney General Jack Conway decides not to appeal a decision by Judge John Heyburn that nullifies the state’s ban on gay marriage, his bill would allow others to do so.
“We’re looking at the potential to file legislation that would allow some other group or some other person to intervene in the ruling other than the Attorney General," the Jefferson County Republican said. "Right now, as I understand it, only the Attorney General can intervene in this case, so we would maybe look at legislation that we could actually allow someone else to do that.”
A spokeswoman for Conway’s office says that the law doesn’t need to be changed and that Conway has defended the law appropriately to date.
Conway has asked for a 90-day stay to decide whether or not to appeal the ruling, which allows out-of-state same-sex couples to be legally recognized in the state of Kentucky.
A Lexington couple is celebrating a federal judge’s final ruling that orders Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Ross Ewing has been with his partner for eight years. The couple had planned to marry this summer in New York.
“By happy coincidence, we were and still are, planning on being in New York on the first weekend in June which is our anniversary. My partner sings in Lexington Singers and they are performing in Carnegie Hall that weekend. We were just going to get married while we were up there,” explained Ewing.
Now, Ewing says the couple is thinking about waiting a little longer for the opportunity to get married in their home state. With the ruling partially lifting Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage, Ewing believes it’s only a matter of time before Kentucky fully legalizes gay marriage.
“I just cannot help but see the comparison to inter-racial marriage. That didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen in all 50 states simultaneously, but it happened, and I just can’t help but see the parallel.”
A federal judge has signed an order directing officials in Kentucky to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II on Thursday issued a final order throwing out part of the state's ban on gay marriages. The order makes official his Feb. 12 ruling that Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."
The order means same-sex couples may change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of a married couple in Kentucky. The order doesn't affect a related lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Kentucky's attorney general has asked for a delay, which hasn't been ruled upon.
Attorneys for gay couples seeking formal recognition of their out-of-state marriages say a federal judge is expected to sign a final order in the case by the end of the week.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II earlier this month threw part of the state's ban on gay marriages. The ruling only applies to couples married in other states or countries.
A final order would mean same-sex couples may change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of a married couple in Kentucky. But Heyburn's ruling doesn't affect a related lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Kentucky attorney general's office has not sought to delay the ruling as of Wednesday afternoon.
A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, striking down part of the state ban.
In 23-page a ruling issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II concluded that Kentucky's laws treat gay and lesbians differently in a "way that demeans them." The constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004. The out-of-state clause was part of it.
The decision came in lawsuits brought by four gay and lesbian couples seeking to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages.
Heyburn did not rule on whether the state could be forced to perform same-sex marriages.