Judge: Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other states

BRETT BARROUQUERE, Associated Press Published:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, according to a ruling Wednesday by a federal judge, who struck down part of the state ban that he wrote treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."

In 23-page a ruling issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II concluded that the government may define marriage and attach benefits to it, but cannot "impose a traditional or faith-based limitation" without a sufficient justification for it."

"Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons," wrote Heyburn, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.

The decision in the socially conservative state comes against the backdrop of similar rulings or actions in states around the country where same-sex couples have long fought for the right to marry. The constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004 and included the out-of-state clause.

The decision came in lawsuits brought by four gay and lesbian couples seeking to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages.

The ruling only requires Kentucky to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples performed in other states or countries. It does not deal with the question of whether the state can be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as that issue wasn't brought up in the four lawsuits that triggered the ruling.

Heyburn noted that recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings and his opinion in the Kentucky case "suggest a possible result to that question."

With Heyburn's ruling, Kentucky becomes one of 10 states where state or federal courts have reached similar conclusions about same-sex marriage bans.

One of the plaintiffs, 55-year-old Gregory Bourke of Louisville, said the only surprise was the speed with which the ruling came down. The lawsuit was filed in July 2013.

"The word was it could happen any time and I wasn't prepared for it," Bourke said. "It's what we hoped for."

Shannon Fauver, the attorney for the couples seeking recognition, said the ruling applies the constitutional principle that religion cannot be imposed on citizens.

"In theory, same-sex and opposite sex couples should have the same rights," Fauver said. "We're so excited. Legally, I don't think he had a choice. He had to rule in our favor."

The ruling drew the ire of religious leaders who said Heyburn's decision takes away Kentucky's right to determine its policies regarding marriage.

Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the state's largest religious organization with 750,000 members, called the ruling "tragic and disappointing."

"This decision moves us down the slippery slope toward launching Kentucky into moral chaos and depriving children of their innate need of both a father and a mother," Chitwood said. "I pray the appeals process will honor the Commonwealth's constitution and protect her children."

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  • That's your opinion Legion. Don't forget that opinions are like but holes everybody has one. You just think yours is more important and doesn't stink.

  • "I hurt no one that doesn't ask for it."

    Yeah, those folks being gay are really asking for your ignorant vitriol!  That'll learn 'em!

  • I hurt no one that doesn't ask for it. And then it has to be a really good reason before I do that. Like break into my house, or try to hurt one of my family members. Just saying those are the choices everything else is just nonsense prodding for reactions. The attacking individual has to decide how far it will get and how much they can withstand.

    I'm kinda like a thunderstorm warning. You can take the advice to seek shelter but you really don't have to it's your choice, but you suffer the outcome from your ignorance because you have been warned.

    I don't care for their cause. It's the simple minds of Liberal progressives like you that wishes I would care that way your job of forcing legislation on me would be easier. Not going to happen. I do not accept their lifestyle and that's the end of it.

    The problem with nitwits like you is you don't know when to quit. So you get what you ask for. Insulted to the highest form and laughed at for being so dang ignorant and insistive in your beliefs onto others. I don't care what you believe in, it's not what I believe in give it a rest already, you won't change my mind period.

    As for my kids and grand kids. I have nothing to worry about. Good solid family upbringing, good morals and ethics and personal choices were always taught in our home. So now I guess according to your Liberal rules of engagement you are to start attacking my kids?

  • Missionary position pitch, you are hurting people who have done nothing to you, your oblivion notwithstanding.  I hope all of your children/grandchildren are gay.  

    The "Amendment" was just a vehicle for all of those like you who are sexist bigots to codify your narrow minded dogma and thus "impose a traditional or faith-based limitation without a sufficient justification.  It is all about REALLY BIG GOVERNMENT (which you proclaim to be against, but that is only for those things that you do not agree with) over-reach into the private lives of those who dare to have sex in ways that you disapprove of....it is just like your position on drugs other than alcohol and tobacco.  You say that you don't care one way or the other and that you just don't want ot be bothered with their petty indifferences, but in reality, you never miss a chance to stick your dagger in deep and twist.  It "really matters" to you a lot, that much is obvious.  

    Hypocrisy is a form of ignorance.  

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

    "No one but simple minded indivduals care for their cause."  That must be why you care so much...

  • I'm not hurting anyone Legion since you are part of it I gather. I think it's comical for a man to want to be with another man and then want to dress and act like a woman. And the same goes for the women that want to dress  and act like a man, and don't get me started on how funny I think it is to ahve sex change operations.

    I find their lifestyle choices repulsive and disgusting and I voted for the Amendment just for those reasons. If it wasn't such a big deal then there would not have been a debate,  pages written, an Amendment introduced, placed on a ballot and then voted on. Simple nitpicky process that allows a governed people to have control over their lives and laws. Guess you missed that part in social studies class ugh?

    I actually don't care one one or another, I can simply tell a member of the LBGT community, or it's supporters to go fly a kite and not bother me with the petty indifferences same as I do Democrats knocking at my door begging for my vote. I don't have to accept anything I find immoral, unethical, or perverse. I got that freedom to do so. It's only by legislation that these whackados think they can make people accept them. OH but how wrong they truly are...That's the cold harsh reality LGBT's face. No one but simple minded indivduals care for their cause. As it pertains in reality It doesn't really matter! 

  • bodeen: "Let me make myself clear MO_LAZUS, this isnt about gays being discriminated against. There are laws in place now that protects them. This is about having the right to marry the same sex which the people has already spoken and made into law."

    Actually, it seems that is exactly what this is about...and what laws are present around here to protect the basic rights of gays to join in matrimony again?  This ruling wasn't about overturning the state's law banning the marriages of gays in KY...it says that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.  This ruling does allow gays to be married in KY.  Your objections to that are duly noted, but are misplaced here in this situation.  The best advice I can give for those who are "against this type of lifestyle" is to not get gay married...nobody is twisting any arms to try to recruit you into being gay...that is a myth.  They just want to be left alone and to try to enjoy their lives and their families as best they can. Why be so "you betcha" red about it?

    When communicating, it would be a major improvement not to use the term “the gay lifestyle”.  What is a “gay lifestyle”? The manner in which GLBT people live their lives is as varied as the manner in which heterosexual people live theirs.

    The gay and transgender people I know have “lives”, not “lifestyles”. Stop using silly clichés and be honest if you feel compelled to condemn the way others express their sexuality. What many people really want to say is “I do not like same-sex sex.” Simple, then do not participate in it. And, if it bothers you to think about people having same-sex sex, easy, then do not think about it. 

    It would not be appropriate for me to reduce YOU to a sex act, and likewise for it is true for my gay friends. We are humans with beautiful diversity, including the way we express ourselves sexually, romantically and emotionally. Besides, I have watched videos of both hetrosexual acts and homosexual acts, and if you have not, then let me assure you that they a lot more similar than they are different.  Don't take my word for it, google it yourself.

    What is marriage, anyway? I think that the good U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II hit it right on the head (no pun intended) when he concluded that the government may define marriage and attach benefits to it, but cannot "impose a traditional or faith-based limitation" without a sufficient justification for it."

    Nobody is trying to take your faith-based limitations away from you in the way you apply them to your personal life...but just like your cigarette smoke, when it gets our of hand and starts hurting other innocent people then it is time for the government to step in an protect them.


  • Let me make myself clear MO_LAZUS, this isnt about gays being discriminated against. There are laws in place now that protects them. This is about having the right to marry the same sex which the people has already spoken and made into law. Am I against this type of lifestyle, you betcha, but I do not bother anybody that is. The proverbial "We gave them an inch and they took a mile" applies here.  Like I said, they already got the laws in place to protect gays but this marrying is totally different and unacceptable to the people that voted on this. Where are those peoples rights to live in a society that they created lawfully? Once again this can be traced back to money like everything else. The laws could be changed to give a none relative civil union partner benefits or important decission making ability. We must not change what marriage is for to please certain people. The Goat comment was fair in my opinion.

  • Nobody is saying that you guys have to turn gay or anything, just that you cannot legally discriminate against them when it comes to basic human and civil rights .  Nobody is saying that you even have to change the way that you feel that they are weird or anything?  You can still shake your head and go, mmm, mmm, mmm, when you see them in public.  Live and let live...our time is too short on this Earth to get all hung up about it...and maybe some of you haven't been keeping up with current events, but we have a lot bigger fish to fry! 

  • pitchforkprotester, February 12, 2014 2:14PM

    "These couples and Federal judge, fully being aware that there was a Constitutional ban on same sex marriages just threw mud in every voters face here in Kentucky."

    Sometimes it takes a little mud in your eye to make you see clearly...it is unconstitutional to discriminate against people on the basis of sex or sexual orientation, and it is just downright mean-spirited too!  Why do you like hurting innocent people who are just trying to find a little family home life happiness and who have never done a thing to you?


    Bodeen, both you and I are straight and for the most part straight shooters...I just don't understand how you can be so intolerant of folks who aren't like us in their sexual orientation?  Equating goat f***ing with people's intimate relationships?  This IS Kentucky and all, but shucks!  Gay people in long term and committed relationships are not that much different than the rest of us...and even though we may not understand how they feel, it does not mean that their feelings are any less valid or real than yours of mine.  And they feel pain just like we do! 

    They pose absolutely no threat to us in any way...we just need to leave them alone...Jimi Hendrixs once said something like this...they are the ones who are going to have to die when it comes time for them to die, so let them live their life the way they want to.  Really BIG GOVERNMENT has no business in telling people how and who that they can have organisms with, as that is such a nitpicky way to try to classify people.  Don't we already have too many obsessive compulsive classes of human beings already?  If alien's were to come down and see how petty we are in trying to find differences in "tribes" so that we can discriminate against each other, they would think that we are crazy!  


  • Well then if this state Constitutional law is a discrimination and un-Constitutional then all felons can have a gun, since the U.S. Constitutions Second and Fourteeth Amendments says they can. And nowhere in the Constitution does it say that they can't. But gun control nuts have seem to take it upon themselves to make state laws that say felons can't have a gun even though the U.S.Constitution says they can.

    And the U.S.Constitution also says you have to be a natural born citizen after it's radifaction to be allowed to vote, but we all know the nut crowd decides which law to enforce and which law to ignore as long as it FAIR...To their side that is.

    Your arguments Academic and user_39386 has no merit on basis of Constitutionality nor does this judge have the right to make a decsision on political biased influence against an Amendment that was voted on and passed by Kentuckians. This is what WE wanted, and out legislators saw fit to let WE vote on it.

    Oh BTW.. It's the law get over it! Embrace the suck...like Nancy  suggested.

  • Yes.

  • Academic, I'm curious which word was redacted. Were the first five characters 'beast'?

  • Academic ,The majority doesn't have the right to legislate its prejudicial morality into laws that impact everyone. Uh, yes they do. You all comparing this to interacial marriages is apple to oranges. Our constitution and our laws based on parts of it are very clear and some just doesn't understand how it really works and think that it needs to work their way or it is wrong. I do have a couple of suggestions for the folks that doesn't like how the people voted. Try getting this brought back up for another vote the way our constitution provides for it to be done or leave the country whos people has properly set the laws that they wanted.. Contrary to some beliefs, it will lead to a slippery slope.

    I like how anybody that disagrees with subjects such as these are labled racists or bigots. No sense in going tit for tat on a subject that is clearly defined and set into law. There is a process and it doesn't involve a judge.

  • Of course it's about discrimination, which the Fourteenth Amendment makes unconstitutional. 

  • Wow.  I can't believe I was bleeped for using the appropriate and encyclopedic term for a relationship between a man and a goat. 

  • This is about discrimination pure and simple.  The judge recognized this fact and ruled this part of the constitutional amendment unconstitutional.  It seems unfathomable to me that in the 21st century, individuals such as Bodeen are still comparing same-sex marriages to **********, and assuming that any recognition of the former will automatically lead by a slippery slope to the latter.  Ignorance by any other name is still ignorance.  A more suitable comparison would be to the South's refusal some years ago to recognizing inter-racial marriages performed in the North.  So, I guess that you're saying that if Kentucky wanted to vote on and approve a constitutional amendment to not recognize a marriage between an African-American man and a Caucasian woman, this type of discrimination would be okay in your book as long as most Kentuckians agreed?  You would legislate into law discrimination purely because the majority believed that such was morally justified even if ethically and intellectually reprehensible?  That doesn't sound very democratic in my book.  You are right that the majority rules in this country but only until the rights of the minority are trampled upon and then the justice system steps in to right the wrong.  The might of the majority does not make it right.  The majority doesn't have the right to legislate its prejudicial morality into laws that impact everyone.    

  • Whatever......I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH FACTUALLY THAT I CAN GET. HERE IS THE LOGIC . It isn't discrimination of gay or upteen other terms used nowadays. Ky. doesn't recognize other unions either,such as common law marriage between a man and a woman or civil unions.

    The role of states In the United States, civil marriage is governed by state law. Each state is free to set the conditions for a valid marriage, subject to limits set by the state's own constitution and the U.S. Constitution. Traditionally, a marriage was considered valid if the requirements of the marriage law of the state where the marriage took place were fulfilled. (First Restatement of Conflicts on Marriage and Legitimacy s.121 (1934)). However, a state can refuse to recognize a marriage if the marriage violates a strong public policy of the state, even if the marriage was legal in the state where it was performed. (Restatement (Second) Of Conflict of Laws § 283(2) (1971).) States historically exercised this "public policy exception" by refusing to recognize out-of-state polygamous marriages, underage marriages, incestuous marriages, and interracial marriages. Following these precedents, nearly all courts that have addressed the issue have held that states with laws defining marriage as a one man, one woman union can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed elsewhere.

    THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT CLAUSE for recognition of same sex marriage does not apply at this time and would require a constitutional amendment at the federal level, particularly considering there will be a flood of marriages in out-of-state jurisdictions for purposes of obtaining a same-sex marriage license

    If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. KENTUCKIANS DONE THIS.

    402.040 Marriage in another state (1) If any resident of this state marries in another state, the marriage shall be valid here if valid in the state where solemnized, unless the marriage is against Kentucky public policy. (2) A marriage between members of the same sex is against public policy and shall be subject to the prohibition established in KRS 402,045

    402.045 Same-sex marriage in another jurisdiction void and unenforceable. (1) A marriage between members of the same sex which occurs in another jurisdiction shall be void in Kentucky. (2) Any rights granted by virtue of the marriage, or its termination, shall be unenforceable in Kentucky courts. Effective: July 15, 1998 History: Created 1998 Ky.

    Ky. Constitution Section 233A. Valid or recognized marriage - Legal status of unmarried individuals. Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.


  • Bodeen, you are factually incorrect (and not very good at logical reasoning either). For now, states can decide what types of marriage they sanction, but under the Full Faith & Credit clause, Kentucky must accept legal marriages performed in other states, just as KY must accept drivers licenses issued in other states. As for Billy Bob and the goal, that has been going on in many parts of KY for a very long time.

  • user_39386 yes it does. Each state has the right to decide what types of marriages it wants. What next, Billy Bob and his Goat?

    This is no difference than marriages between cousins that are allowed in a lot of states but not here. Pandoras Box!

    Pitch I agree.

  • Voter approval of a discriminatory practice doesn't make it constitutional. 

  • Constitutional ban voted on and passed by voters in 2004 yet this Federal judge has deemed that the voters are wrong. That's every legal registered voter in the state of Kentucky that voted for or against this in 2004.

    These couples and Federal judge, fully being aware that there was a Constitutional ban on same sex marriages just threw mud in every voters face here in Kentucky.

    It has nothing to do with these couples being of same sex and married, just that here in Kentucky our lawmakers were thoughtful enough to let US decide whether or not to accept or even allow same sex marriages and the voices of Kentuckians was heard and made Constitutional.

    Makes you wonder why you even make an effort to vote. This will be appealed and overturned because it was a voter passed legislation for a Constitutional Amendment for Kentucky.