U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled today that the state of Kentucky must allow same-sex marriage.
Via Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed:
“The ability to marry in one’s state is arguably much more meaningful, to those on both sides of the debate, than the recognition of a marriage performed in another jurisdiction,” U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote. “But it is for that very reason that the Court is all the more confident in its ruling today.”
He ruled that “to the extent Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 402.005 and .020(1)(d) and Section 233A of the Kentucky Constitution deny same-sex couples the right to marry in Kentucky, they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and they are void and unenforceable.”
This is the 23rd consecutive ruling in favor of marriage equality since last summer’s decision by the US Supreme Court which gutted the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.
The judge did issue a stay on the ruling pending the upcoming appeal. So, no same-sex marriages for now.
Back in February, the same judge ruled that same-sex marriages performed in other states had to be recognized by the state. The Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, has already filed an appeal with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and will see oral arguments for that case sometime in August.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson issued this statement:
Today a Republican-appointed federal judge in Kentucky held – as have more than 20 other judges and as did the U.S. Supreme Court last year – that discriminatory state marriage bans are unconstitutional. It is wrong for the government to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love; a freedom that is part of every American’s liberty and pursuit of happiness. Today’s ruling in Kentucky underscores that America — all of America — is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should bring the country to national resolution as soon as possible.”