same-sex marriage

The Morehead News

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to resume issuing marriage licenses while she is being sued by four local couples who were denied licenses, according to a ruling Wednesday from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Davis’ defense team is appealing that decision.

In its ruling, the three-judge appeals court panel said there was “little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

Davis’ defense lawyers say they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Davis is represented by Liberty Counsel, a non-profit law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, says that even though she’s a government official, Davis’ religious freedoms should be upheld. “The implication is that if you work at a government agency you don’t have any religious freedom rights. If that’s the implication that’s staggering and that’s a startling proposition.”

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage.

The judge in the lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says the clerk will have to resume issuing marriage licenses by August 31 unless an appeals court says otherwise.

Earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning granted a temporary stay of a decision he levied against Davis. Bunning ruled that Davis’ religious beliefs couldn’t prevent her from carrying out her duties as a government official.

Davis has appealed that ruling. She has refused to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in June.

My Make OU, 123rf Stock Photo

Kentuckians may be changing their minds—very slowly—when it comes to same sex marriage, a new poll suggests.

A Bluegrass Poll released Monday shows 53 percent of voters disagree with a Supreme Court ruling in June legalizing gay marriage throughout the U.S.

That’s compared to 57 percent of Kentucky voters who earlier this year said they opposed same-sex marriage.

Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman said public opinion in Southern states has been slow to change on same-sex marriage.

“I am not surprised that attitudes aren’t changing immediately,” he said. “But I think that we are going to see that.”

Unitarian Church Welcomes First Same-Sex Wedding

Jul 30, 2015

Since the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage across the nation, there’s been both acceptance and resistance. But at the Unitarian Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, there is strong support for the new law, as the congregation prepares to celebrate the first same-sex wedding at the church.

“We are gay and straight together and we are singing for our lives…"

On this Sunday morning, the congregation at the Unitarian church in Bowling Green is singing, “We are gay and straight together...”  

The song has verses about being justice seeking-people  and a land of many colors.

Forrest Halford is playing piano. He will marry his partner, Greg Willis, in this church in August. 

Halford found his way to this welcoming community after years in other churches.

"I grew up in a Christian church. I grew up in a musical tradition. My mother was a musician at a church. I sang in the choirs. Ultimately, I played in churches and was a minister of music, saved at 16 with a sinner’s prayer, baptized in the Holy Spirit at 19, speaking in tongues, going to charismatic Pentecostal churches. And then backslid, whatever that means…"


A county clerk says nearly half of the county clerks in Kentucky have asked Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the legislature to address the issue of gay marriage licenses after same-sex marriage was legalized.

Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe says a letter sent Wednesday by 57 clerks to Beshear explains that they face a conflict between their religious beliefs and job duties following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 ruling.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Greg Stumbo asked Beshear to call lawmakers back into session over the issue. But Beshear said there was no need for lawmakers to consider an issue the Supreme Court has settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis after she refused marriage licenses to two gay couples and two straight couples.

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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