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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Courts - Kentucky federal district court invalidates Kentucky constitutional ban against SSM

Andrew Wolfson of the Louisville Courier Journal posted this story a few minutes ago. Some quotes:

A federal judge today ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry in Kentucky.

"In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote, invalidating Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Heyburn held in February that Kentucky must recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

Heyburn put his ruling today on hold, staying it pending the outcome of several gay marriage cases at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. * * *

The decision "forcefully lays to rest that Kentucky's anti-gay marriage laws were based on anything but invidious discrimination against homosexuals," said Dan Canon, one of their lawyers.

Attorney Leigh Latherow, whose Ashland firm was hired by Gov. Steve Beshear to defend the ban after Attorney General Jack Conway refused to do so, referred questions to a spokesman for the governor, Terry Sebastian, who said only that state would appeal.

Heyburn rejected the only justification offered by lawyers for Beshear — that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state's long-term economic stability.

"These arguments are not those of serious people," he said.

Heyburn held that the ban on gay marriage within Kentucky violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law and that there is "no conceivable legitimate purpose for it."

He held that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment and a similar statute enacted in 1998 deny gay couples lower income and estate taxes; leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act, family insurance coverage; and the ability to adopt children as a couple.

"Perhaps most importantly," he added, the Kentucky law denies same-sex couples the "intangible and and emotional benefits of civil marriage."

Heyburn stayed the ruling until the Cincinnati-based appeals court gay-marriage cases from Kentucky and three other states. Oral arguments are scheduled for Aug. 6.

Here, thanks to Equality Case Files, is a copy of the opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 1, 2014 01:31 PM
Posted to Courts in general