KENTUCKY- Republican-appointed federal judge ruled on July 1 that Kentucky’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. U. S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II was appointed by President George H. Bush in 1992 on the recommendation of then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Founder of Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson is pleased with the new advancement for total marriage equality for the United States.
“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,” Wolfson said. “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.”
This ruling follows a February ruling from the same judge who stated that Kentucky must respect legal marriages of same-sex couples performed outside of Kentucky. The case will be heard by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on August 6, the same day they will hear the DeBoer v. Snyder case from Michigan.
“Sometimes, by upholding equal rights for a few, courts necessarily must require others to forebear some prior conduct or restrain some personal instinct,” Heyburn wrote. “Here, that would not seem to be the case. Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree.”
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said the state will appeal the decision.
Since the strike down of DOMA in 2013, 23 consecutive rulings have struck down state marriage bans as unconstitutional.
Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded highlighting how many LGBT couples will be affected by this ruling, pending the decision in August.
“The Bluegrass State now joins what is becoming a long list of states where same-sex couples can get married. According to the latest U.S. Census data, there are at least 7,195 same-sex couples living in Kentucky. This is an amazing development for the millions of people who long for the day when marriage equality is not a blue state or red state issue, but rather a right that is enjoyed in every part of these United States of America.”