A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a decision that could pave the way for same-sex couples to get married in the state.
Federal Judge John Heyburn ruled Tuesday that the state’s 2004 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, calling the state’s counter argument that gay couples can’t contribute to the state’s economic well being because they can’t procreate “illogical” and “bewildering.”
Dan Cannon is an attorney for the couples involved in the suit. He tells Kentucky Public Radio it’s only a matter of time before Kentucky joins 19 states that have legalized same-sex marriages.
“We’re excited about the ruling and we’re optimistic about it, and we’re optimistic that same-sex couples will in the very near future be able to get marriage licenses in Kentucky,” said Cannon.
In a statement, Gov. Steve Beshear says he plans to appeal Heyburn’s ruling in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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 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.