A same-sex couple from Louisville will be in Washington Tuesday Kentucky’s gay marriage appeal is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gregory Bourke and Michael De Leon married in Canada in 2004.
The couple, along with their teenage daughter and son, will be in the courtroom as the nation’s highest court considers whether Kentucky’s gay marriage ban violates the Constitution.
State law prevents both Bourke and De Leon from adopting the children. Only De Leon is listed on their birth certificates.
"This is a potential problem for them because if the adoptive parent were to pass away, then they would not have a legal parent," Bourke tells WKU Public Radio. "Their life would go into chaos and the stability of the whole family would be at risk."
After raising his children for the past 15 years, Bourke says he wants to legally be recognized as one of their parents.
Bourke and De Leon were the first Kentucky couple to file a federal lawsuit requesting their marriage be recognized in the commonwealth. It was a family decision, so Bourke says that’s why it’s important for the family to have a seat at the historic hearing.
The Family Foundation of Kentucky says a lot is at stake, including the validity of the Supreme Court should it overturn the majority vote of the people who support traditional marriage.
"Thirty-nine states have voted to keep marriage between one man and one woman. That's 51 million people," says Family Foundation founder Kent Ostrander. "Only 33 million wanted to redefine it."
Ostrander fears that should the court "misjudge" the issue, it could become another Dred Scott or Roe versus Wade decision and further divide the country.
The Supreme Court hearing comes after a federal appeals court ruled last year to uphold marriage restrictions in Kentucky and three other states.