Federal judge finds Kentucky ban on gay marriage unconstitutional

By Daniel S Levine,

The next state to recognize same-sex marriages may be Kentucky after a federal judge ruled today that the commonwealth’s ban is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II said in a ruling Wednesday that the ban on same-sex marriage treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them,” reports The Associated Press. Heyburn, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, wrote that, “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.”

The Courier-Journal reports that Heyburn cited the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In 2004, Kentucky had amended its constitution to read that “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

The ruling today does not mean that Kentucky will start performing same-sex marriages now. It only means that the state will have to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Kentucky is the latest mostly conservative state to see its same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional. Utah’s ban was also ruled unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court ordered that the marriages must be on hold as the state appeals the decision.

Several opponents of same-sex marriage blasted Heyburn's ruling, noting that it kept Kentucky from deciding its own policies.

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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