Federal judge rules Ky. must recognize same-sex marriages


by Claudia Coffey


Posted on February 12, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 12 at 8:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Federal judge has ruled the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, striking down part of the state ban. The 23 page opinion was issued on Wednesday, Feb. 12, by Judge John Heyburn.

In it, he says Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages, approved by voters in 2004 is unconstitutional.

Today is a day Greg Bourke has waited for, for more than 31 years.

Bourke and his partner are one of four couples who brought forth lawsuits seeking to force Kentucky to recognize their out-of-state marriages. Federal Judge John Heyburn issued an opinion striking down Kentucky's gay marriage ban, it specifically says marriages performed outside the state should be recognized in Kentucky and couples afforded the same rights as other couples.

“They will have equal rights to their children, they will have the ability to file taxes as a married person, they will be able to inherit property as a spouse does. The rest of us don't even realize the benefits that you truly get," Lauren Landenwich, an attorney, said.

Heyburn said, "it is clear that Kentucky's laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."

Heyburn did not rule on whether the state could be forced to perform same-sex marriages however attorneys fighting the case believe that is next.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention issued this statement after the ruling: "The news that District Judge John G. Heyburn usurped the will of Kentucky voters today is tragic and disappointing
At this point it is an opinion and a hearing will be set on when it will take effect.”

"We keep fighting as long as we have to because we think this is important," Bourke said.