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.
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 1:04 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.
Indiana's House of Representatives has approved a proposal that would write the state's gay marriage ban into the constitution.
The Republican-led House narrowly voted 57-40 Tuesday in favor of the measure. The proposed ban now heads to the Indiana Senate.
The vote followed weeks of uncertainty for a measure that swept through the General Assembly with ease just three years ago.
"This amendment has jumped the shark," said Democratic Rep. Mat Pierce, who voted against the measure. "History has really passed it by. And that’s why I think we need to give up on it."
The House measure leaves open the door for approval of civil unions and employer benefits for same-sex couples. It also would potentially reset the clock on Indiana's lengthy process of amending the constitution.
But Senate Republicans could potentially place the measure back on course to appear on the November ballot.
WKU Economics Professor Susane Leguizamon talks about her research detailing the effects same-sex marriage could have on federal and state income tax receipts.
The debate over same-sex marriage is one that has heated up this year, with the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which blocked the federal government from recognizing gay marriage. Seven states in 2013 saw same sex marriage legalized through court order, laws passed by state legislatures, or through popular vote.
WKU Economics Professor Susane Leguizamon has conducted some research about an aspect of same sex marriage that most people probably haven't thought about: namely, what would the impact of nationwide gay marriage be on federal and state income tax receipts?
The research conducted by Prof. Leguizamon and her two co-authors finds 23 state would see a new fiscal benefit from same sex marriage legalization, while 21 would see a decline. Seven states wouldn't be impacted in this way since they don't have income taxes.
You can request a copy of the research by emailing Prof. Leguizamon here.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Prof. Leguizamon:
How would same-sex marriage legalization impact the income tax revenues of the three states in our listening area: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana?
A Kentucky judge is seeking input from the state attorney general's office before deciding whether a law exempting spouses from testifying against each other applies to two women in a civil union from Vermont.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson says the attorney general's office should be given a chance to respond.
The Courier-Journal reports the case has become the first legal test in the state over forcing same-sex partners to testify against each other.
Prosecutors say Geneva Case heard her spouse, Bobbie Joe Clary, admit to killing a man two years ago and saw her clean blood out of the man's van and abandon it in Southern Indiana. Case has told the prosecution she will not testify, invoking the "Husband-Wife" privilege under state law, according to court records.
Another barrier to recognition of same-sex marriage appears to have fallen. On Monday a federal judge ordered a law firm to pay survivor's benefits to the widow in a same-sex marriage, and on Tuesday the law firm said it was happy to comply and would not appeal.
The decision is the latest in a series of court rulings equalizing benefits for legally married same-sex couples in the aftermath of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
A Louisville couple has filed a challenge to Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages.
They're asking a federal judge to require the state to recognize valid unions from other states and countries.
Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon filed suit Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Louisville. The issue of same sex marriages and rights has been a hot topic at rallies in Louisville and across the country.
Burke and Deleon are seeking an injunction to stop state and local officials from enforcing the ban written into the Kentucky constitution in 2004.
The suit is the first such challenge in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
That's a federal law blocking married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual spouses.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has suggested that Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage will move the country closer to accepting marriages between people and animals.
A spokeswoman for the Bowling Green Republican insists the Senator was being sarcastic.
Paul’s comments came during an appearance on Glenn Beck’s radio program. Beck asked the Kentucky Senator if the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act would eventually lead to the legalization of polygamous marriage. Paul responded by saying, “I think it’s a conundrum. If we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further, does it have to be humans, you know?”
The U.S. Supreme's Court ruling Wednesday striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not impact Kentucky laws regarding the definition of marriage. Kentucky voters in 2004 approved an amendment to the state constitution defining a marriage as being between one man and one woman.
WKU constitutional law scholar Patty Minter says the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA concerns those in same-sex marriages being able to receive the same federal benefits as those in heterosexual marriages.
"It does not affect the definition of marriage in Kentucky, and it does not require the state of Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It also has no impact on civil unions anywhere in the 50 states," Dr. Minter told WKU Public Radio.
Dr. Minter, a WKU History Professor, says those wanting same-sex marriage in Kentucky would likely have to get a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the 2004 state amendment.
"Or you would need another case at the U.S. Supreme Court--one that rendered all of those state marriage amendments to be moot. They would also be rendered moot if you passed a federal amendment to the Constitution that mandated that marriage rights could not be abridged based on status.