Ky. couple challenges ban on same-sex marriage


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 30 at 2:02 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The first openly gay couple in the state has now filed suit in Federal Court contesting Kentucky's ban on same sex marriage.

Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon were married in Canada but their marriage is not recognized here.

When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June,  it opened the door for challenges in states across the country. Louisvillians Greg Bourke and partner Michael DeLeon are the first openly gay couple in Kentucky to challenge the ban.

"The complaint that we have filed states we are being discriminated against under the equal protection amendment of the constitution and we are saying Kentucky law discriminates against us," Greg Bourke said.

Greg and Michael have been together for 31 years. They were married in Canada and their marriage is not recognized here.

"We want the benefits, we pay taxes. That's when we knew that if there was an opportunity like this. We had our ear to the ground and we definitely were on board for stepping forward," DeLeon said.

This is not the first battle Greg has taken up. Last year, he challenged the Boy Scouts of America to allow him to return to his leadership position for which he was forced to resign because he is openly gay. The national organization changed its rules to allow openly gay scouts to participate.

Now, he is ready to take on a new battle -- this one not supported by some.

Denny Burk, an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Ethics at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said "Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. That's what for the good of society. It promotes human flourishing. It's the best for children."

Judge John Heyburn II will hear the case. He'll decide whether to proceed with the case, deny or dismiss the lawsuit. It's a process that could take up to a year.