LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- 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.
The question was not included in the lawsuit.
The following is from Michael Aldridge, the Executive Director at the ACLU of Ky., on Wednesday’s ruling:
“The ACLU of Kentucky applauds today’s ruling. Just as the U.S. Supreme Court found this summer in their decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, denying legally married same-sex couples equal recognition and protection under the law is not only unfair, but it is unconstitutional.”
“The ACLU of Kentucky asks the State to let the ruling stand rather than appealing the decision, as has been done in several other states, most recently in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Mexico and Virginia.”
“If the decision is appealed, the ACLU of Kentucky will file an amicus brief in support of marriage equality.”
Rep. Yarmuth Statement on Federal Court Ruling to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages in Kentucky
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) issued the following statement after U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed outside the Commonwealth:
“I am proud of the four Kentucky families who are standing up for marriage equality in this lawsuit and of the thousands more who continue this fight every day. Today’s ruling is an important step forward in the march toward recognition of all marriages under the law and full equality in our Commonwealth.”
Team Mitch released the following statement from Senator McConnell in response to the Kentucky marriage ruling:
"The people of Kentucky voted overwhelmingly to enshrine in our Constitution that marriage in our state is between one man and one woman. I am a traditionalist and support that position, but regardless of one's personal view on the issue, we should be able to agree that only the people of Kentucky, through the legislative process, should have the authority to change the law, not the courts. I will continue to support traditional marriage and fight to make sure that Kentuckians define marriage as we see fit and never have a definition forced on us by interests outside of our state."
Statement from Attorney General Jack Conway:
“I took an oath when I was sworn in as Attorney General to uphold Kentucky’s constitution. I did my duty and defended Kentucky’s constitutional amendment in federal court. Today, Judge Heyburn issued a decision holding that Kentucky’s constitutional amendment conflicts with the United States Constitution. The order is not final and states that there will be an additional hearing set in the near future. It would be inappropriate to comment further about the future of this case until that hearing is held and a final order is entered.”