Federal judge strikes down Kentucky same-sex marriage ban

Federal judge strikes down Kentucky same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website] on Thursday struck down [opinion, PDF] a voter-approved amendment to the Kentucky constitution banning same-sex marriages. The lawsuit was filed by two same-sex couples who attempted to apply for a marriage license and were denied. The plaintiffs specifically argued that the voter approved §233A [text] of the Kentucky Constitution, which states that only marriages between men and women are recognized, violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. In his opinion, Judge John Heyburn wrote:

Sometimes, by upholding equal rights for a few, courts necessarily must require others to forebear some prior conduct or restrain some personal instinct. Here, that would not seem to be the case. Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree. Thus, same-sex couples’ right to marry seems to be a uniquely “free” constitutional right. Hopefully, even those opposed to or uncertain about same-sex marriage will see it that way in the future.

An appeal is expected.

In February Heyburn struck down [JURIST report] Kentucky’s ban on recognizing out of state same-sex marriages. These rulings join a string of rulings across the country that have struck down many states’ same-sex marriage bans, after the US Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text]. In June a federal judge struck down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report]. Also in June Winsconsin’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down, and Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down [JURIST reports] in May. That ruling came after a similar ruling striking down [JURIST report] Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban the day before.