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Kentucky

Ky. seeks delay in order that it recognize same-sex marriages from other states

Thursday, February 27, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s attorney general asked a federal judge on Thursday to delay by 90 days an order requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

The two-page filing says the delay is sought to give Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, time to decide whether to appeal the Feb. 12 ruling and would give the state an opportunity to prepare to implement the order.

Attorney General Jack Conway (D-Ky.)

Attorney General Jack Conway (D-Ky.)

The request came as parties in the case awaited a final order from U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II overturning part of Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban.

Earlier this month, Heyburn concluded that the ban, which has been in place since 2004, treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

The attorney general’s request doesn’t mean that Heyburn’s decision won’t go into effect. The judge did not immediately rule on a potential delay.

Should Heyburn issue a final order and deny a delay, same-sex coup les would be allowed change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of married couples in Kentucky. Heyburn’s ruling doesn’t affect a related lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Texas struck down that state’s gay marriage ban but immediately delayed the implementation of his ruling pending appeals by the state.

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

The proposed order only requires Kentucky to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples performed in other states or countries. It does not deal with whether the state can be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Martin Cothran, a senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky, criticized Attorney General Jack Conway’s handling of the case, accusing him of “spiking” the state’s defense by not making persuasive arguments to keep the ban in place.

“If this were a private case, it would be legal malpractice,” Cothran said. “The longer the attorney general drags his feet on this case, the worse it is for Kentucky voters.”

Laura Landenwich, an attorney representing several of the couples who sued, said a delay in implementing the ruling leaves state employees in legal limbo.

“Basically, you are the state officer and employee and you need to know what you can and can’t do,” Landenwich said. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”

In his 23-page ruling issued Feb. 12, Heyburn 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.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. civil rights should not have any delays…..bigots dont get it they have lost the war with gay marriage and gay rights time to move on

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:31pm
  2. I agree 100%.

    Replied on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:36pm
  3. Not surprised…..they just perfected the recipe for ICE!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:32pm
  4. It's pretty sad that these dumb hicks believe incest is perfectly fine but homosexuality is a sin.

    Replied on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:07pm
  5. why can’t they just let Gay people get married GEEZ

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:36pm
  6. Hope the judge is a homo

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:37pm
  7. People should be allowed to marry whoever they want.

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:37pm
  8. Of legal age of consent

    Replied on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:51pm
  9. You got a point there. But, gays still have every right to get married.

    Replied on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:52pm
  10. Why are none of these cases happening in GA? Pretty bad when LGBT groups here in GA say” it is not the right time” to do anything…. But why is it time in KY or Texas. Or VA?

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:39pm
  11. File a lawsuit. All it takes is one person to stand up and do it. Be that person.

    Replied on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:29pm
  12. Why the hold up Kentucky….it’s a no brained! C’MON!

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:43pm
  13. Sad stupid ass hillbillies with nothing better to do, since they can’t read, write or fuck anyone not related to them.

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:45pm
  14. These republican bigots are running out of tactics….

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:47pm
  15. Turn Kentucky BLUE

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:48pm
  16. A bush appointed judge made this ruling… That’s promising.

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:55pm
  17. No reason for delay

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:56pm
  18. Just delaying the inevitable.

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:58pm
  19. WHY? What is the point? Equal rights is Equal rights!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:20pm
  20. Just give it up and recognize gay marriage.

    Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:20pm