Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Kentucky

Judge grants Ky. 21-days to implement order recognizing same-sex marriages

Friday, February 28, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky has until March 20 to implement an order granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married in other states or countries, a federal judge ruled Friday.

KentuckyU.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville ordered the 21-day delay in his decision to void a voter-imposed ban on state recognition of same-sex unions after concluding that officials need time to study his findings and implement policies and procedures.

“The public interest is twofold: that the Constitution be upheld; and that changes in the law be implemented consistently without undue confusion,” Heyburn wrote in a three-page order. “Confusion could result from state or local officials being unaware of their precise responsibilities. However, the implementation of the order without confusion is possible with reasonable effort.”

The delay came one day after Heyburn issued an order making final his Feb. 12 opinion that Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause because it treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

The ruling arose from a lawsuit filed by two couples who were married in other states or countries over the past 10 years. The couples sought to force the state to recognize their unions as legal. Heyburn’s ruling does not require the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; that is the subject of a separate, but related lawsuit. Heyburn expects to rule on that issue by summer.

Unless a higher court steps in and stops enforcement of the ruling, the state will have to allow same-sex couples married outside the state to change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of a married couple in Kentucky.

Kentucky sought to delay implementation of Heyburn’s ruling for up to 90 days and told Heyburn during a 30-minute conference call on Friday that time was needed to review the ruling and put new policies in place.

Assistant Attorney General Clay Barkley told Heyburn that the delay in implementation would not affect any decision on whether to appeal the ruling. Barkley said an appeal is still under consideration. The state has 30 days from when Heyburn handed down the final ruling to file a notice of appeal.

Martin Cothran, a spokesman for The Family Foundation of Kentucky, which opposes same-sex marriage, criticized Attorney General Jack Conway for not immediately appealing Heyburn’s ruling and seeking a stay while a higher court reviews the case.

“The Attorney General needs to fish or cut bait,” Cothran said. “And he needs to act now to protect the rights of Kentucky voters. Unelected federal judges like the judge in this case are taking important social issues out of the hands of voters and forcing citizens to be spectators in their own democracy.”

Clerks of court are awaiting direction from state officials on what to do next, said Nore Ghibaudy, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Clerk.

“Whatever it is, we’d have no problem doing it,” Ghibaudy said.

It was unclear how many people would seek to immediately take advantage of the rights recognized in the rulings.

“I imagine we’re talking about pretty small numbers,” Heyburn said.

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , ,

Filed under: Kentucky

28 more reader comments:

  1. Hayley Kupczyk KENTUCKY IS RECOGNIZING SAME SEX MARRIAGE NOW

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:58pm
  2. from other states...

    Replied on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 6:18am
  3. woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:58pm
  4. 2 states calling themselves birth places of Abram Lincon. lets get this settled once and for all. ILLINOIS LAND OF LINOLN OR KENTUCY LAND OF SO CALLLED LINCOLN

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:02pm
  5. He was born in Kentucky but he moved to Illinois because slavery was depriving him from a good job.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:04pm
  6. born in Kentucky..but only lived here til he was 4yrs old..then moved to IL.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:08pm
  7. Not that it is relevant to this post but. Hodgenville, KY Abraham Lincoln, Place of birth.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:18pm
  8. Lel.

    Replied on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:44am
  9. This is your take-away from this news?

    Replied on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:15am
  10. Kentucky claims the birthplace. Illinois gets to claim everything else...

    Replied on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 3:52pm
  11. Illinois Land of Lincoln or kentucy land of false information on Lincoln

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:05pm
  12. Lincoln was actually born in what is now LaRue County, KY.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:05pm
  13. and he is pissed at MITCH !

    Replied on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 1:00am
  14. Born in Kentucky, spent most of his life in Illinois. Not a huge deal, calm down

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:07pm
  15. Illinois has same sex marriage starting 6/1/14 when is kentuckys same sex marraige

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:10pm
  16. Kentucky is almost close of passing the law

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:55pm
  17. Florida next…I hope

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:25am
  18. Waiting for Florida

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:49am
  19. Surprised You didn’t send this to me sweetie ! Move to the Ville Tracy. Steven can run one of our famous Hotels.

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:51am
  20. And for your friend below , Keith, Study your history books. Lincoln was born in Hodgenville KY. Moved to Illinois later when running for office. Lincoln is from The Great State of KENTUCKY ! ! ! no question. Illinois just likes to claim he’s from there. He lived there, not from there.

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:55am
  21. Well lets be correct here…..there is no such thing as the state of Kentucky

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 1:32am
  22. Mitch McConnell must be having kittens

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 1:49am
  23. I’m glad you folks arguing over Lincoln’s birthplace (a very easy-to-identify piece of information) care so much about the civil rights of people actually living there.

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:17am
  24. Oh boy! Three weeks for us to watch Kentucky folk blowing their fuses and crying religious persecution.

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:25am
  25. Much more important than where Lincoln was born, is when is Kentucky going to allow gay marriage? Nice that they will recognize marriages from other states, but they need to treat all their citizens equally by allowing a lll to marry who they love. GET ON IT KY!!

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:40am
  26. Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 8:14am
  27. Which number will Kentucky be? :D

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 3:02pm
  28. Ok give them 21 days to adjust to the changes. However no more. We need to settle this gay marriage issue once and for all. Equality should never be in question.

    Posted on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 3:15pm