same-sex marriage

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex-marriage bans.

Of the 138 members of the Kentucky General Assembly, 107 have signed a brief in support of Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage, which is part of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court today.

The amici curiae, or “friends of the court,” brief is signed by 76 of 100 members of the Democrat-led House and 31 out of 38 members of the Republican-led Senate.

The legislators argue that states have the right to define marriage as being between one man and one woman and that heterosexual married couples are optimal for raising children.

“Raising of children by same-sex couples, who by definition cannot be the two sole biological parents of a child and cannot provide children with a parental authority figure of each gender, presents an alternative structure for child rearing that has not yet proved itself beyond reasonable scientific dispute,” the lawmakers argue in the brief.

The brief is signed by 37 out of 65 Democrats in the legislature—a reminder that Kentucky Democrats often skew socially conservative, even in the Statehouse.

University of Kentucky political science professor Donald Gross said the brief could help Democrats who fear the political perception of being “anti-family values.”

“If you’re a pro-choice, pro-gay rights Democrat, that can be a very significant issue in the general election,” Gross said.

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.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Doc Searls

Public opinion will flip in favor of same-sex marriage—though it will take time to happen, an attorney who helped lead the legal fight against California’s anti-same-sex union law Proposition 8 said in Louisville this week.

This month, the Bluegrass Poll found opposition to same-sex marriage has grown in Kentucky from 50 percent to 57 percent since last summer.

Speaking at a forum with University of Louisville law students on Tuesday, attorney David Boies said other states have set an example of how acceptance of same-sex marriage will play out in the U.S.

“You have marriage equality now in Florida, in Virginia, in the Carolinas, and Utah,” Boies said. “I mean, these were states were people said ‘marriage equality will never work, people will be up in arms, the sky will be falling.’

“Well what happened? Well, nothing happened except everyone got to marry the person they love.”

The Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will recognize same-sex marriage for all of its congregations.

The top Presbyterian legislative body endorsed the new wording last year, but amending the church’s constitution required approval from the majority of regional bodies, called presbyteries. That majority was reached Tuesday with a favorable vote by New Jersey’s Presbytery of the Palisades, according to the Associated Press.

The denomination will expand its definition of marriage in the church constitution to say that marriage is a “commitment between two people.”

The Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, made up of more than 50 congregations, voted earlier this month in favor of the change. As WFPL reported, not everyone is expected to be happy about the decision.

Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, associate general presbyter for the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, said at the time: “We have a lot of congregations who, this will upset them if this passes. We have other congregations wondering why it’s taken this long.”

The Mid-Kentucky Presbytery as voted this weekend to approve a same-sex marriage amendment to the national church’s constitution.

The presbytery includes more than 50 congregations from Kentucky. Its vote on Saturday will count as just one of 172 presbyteries that make up Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which is headquartered in Louisville.

Representatives from presbyteries across the country are voting whether to rewrite language in the national church’s constitution that would recognize love as being between two people instead of between a man and a woman.

A majority of the presbyteries that have already voted have supported the amendment. Those include the Presbytery of Transylvania in eastern Kentucky.

The vote Saturday was 97 in favor, 9 against, and 1 abstention, according to Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, associate general presbyter for Mid-Kentucky Presbytery.

Representatives from more than 50 congregations that make up the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery will convene in Louisville on Saturday to vote on whether to approve same-sex marriage as part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s constitution.

The votes taking place this weekend will count as just 1 of 172 presbytery votes that make up Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), whose headquarters is located in Louisville. As it stands now, the national vote is 55 in favor of new language that would recognize marriage as love between two people.

Twenty-two presbyteries have voted against it.

As Alabama becomes the most recent state to issue same sex marriages, some lawmakers there are decrying a federal judge’s decision to strike down the ban and the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene. Kentucky, another largely conservative state, may receive a final decision on its gay marriage ban this summer. The impending decision has some public officials reexamining their role as marriage officiants.


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.

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