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Kentucky LGBT rights and marriage equality


Kentucky Marriage Equality Poll Shows Opposition Dropped 22% in 10 Years

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

titleWhile we’ve still got a ways to go in the state, according to a new Kentucky marriage equality poll, the numbers are encouraging.

USA Today reports:

Results from the latest Bluegrass Poll, released Tuesday, show 50 percent of registered voters in Kentucky oppose same-sex marriage, while 37 percent favor it and 12 percent remain unsure. That’s a drop from the 55 percent who said they opposed gay marriage in February and a sharp decline from the 72 percent that voted in favor of a ban in 2004 — when the state constitution was amended to define marriage as between a man and a woman. “We’ve hit a bit of a threshold, and I think the tipping point is soon to follow,” said Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign. “The opposition has been teetering on the edge of having a majority for a long time, and that ground is rapidly slipping out from under them.”

Wow – opposition is down 22 points since 2004, and 5 points just since February! Amazing.

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Kentucky Marriage Equality Advances as Judge Strikes Down Ban

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

KentuckyKentucky marriage equality took a huge step forward yesterday as a federal judge struck down the state’s ban.

The Courier-Journal reports:

In striking down Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage, a federal judge Tuesday rejected Gov. Steve Beshear’s argument that the ban is needed because only opposite sex couples can procreate and maintain the state’s birth rate and economy. “These arguments are not those of serious people,” wrote Senior U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II. “Even assuming the state has a legitimate interest in promoting procreation,” Heyburn wrote in a 19-page opinion, its lawyers never explained how the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage has “any effect whatsoever on procreation among heterosexual spouses.”

The ruling was immediately stayed, so there will be no same sex weddings in Kentucky for now.

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Marriage Equality Monday: August Sixth Hearings for Cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Gay WeddingThe Sixth circuit is getting set for a Marriage Equality Monday – with hearings on marriage equality cases from four states.

The Washington Blade reports:

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has set August 6 as the single day to hear arguments in the five marriage equality cases pending before the court, setting up a historic day for each of the four states in the circuit. In four separate notices on Monday, the Sixth Circuit, which is located in Cincinnati, announced that arguments for the cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee will take place on August 6 at 1 pm. James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT project, said his organization welcomes the developments for each of the cases.

Amazing – more and more of these cases are moving up to the appellate courts – which will be the next to issue a ruling?

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USA, Kentucky: Judge Puts Same sex Marriage Recognition on Hold

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

KentuckyA Federal Judge sided with the state’s Governor, putting his ruling forcing the state to recognize married same sex couples on hold pending appeal.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A federal judge is giving the conservative state of Kentucky more time to officially recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries, saying doing so will allow the law to become settled without causing confusion or granting rights only to have them taken away. The ruling Wednesday comes just two days before gay couples would have been allowed to change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain the benefits of any other married couple in Kentucky… U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II of Louisville said in a four-page order that it is “best that these momentous changes occur upon full review” rather than being implemented too soon or causing confusing changes. “That does not serve anyone well,” said Heyburn, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Heyburn said the delay would stay in place until the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati either rules on the merits of the case or orders the stay lifted.

I wonder why the judge caved now, after being so insistent before that he would not stay the ruling?

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USA, Kentucky: State Accepts One Ruling, Will Appoint Outside Counsel to Fight Another

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

KentuckyThe state of Kentucky will accept the ruling that they must recognize marriages of same sex couples performed in other states.

Pink News reports:

The US state of Kentucky won’t fight against a ruling made last week which meant the state must immediately recognise out-of-state same-sex marriages… State Attorney General Jack Conway on Tuesday announced that he did not intend to appeal against the ruling made last Thursday. “Judge Heyburn got it right,” said Conway,

In related news, AG Conway said he wouldn’t defend the state’s marriage equality ban in court.

LGBT Weekly reports:

Today Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced he will not appeal a judge’s order to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states or jurisdictions. Instead, Governor Steve Beshear will hire outside counsel to appeal the ruling… “Attorney General Conway has sent a strong message that discrimination is indefensible,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “With each passing day we are one step closer to full marriage equality in America, and Kentucky should not stand in the way of our march toward justice. It would be wrong to waste taxpayer dollars defending Kentucky’s archaic ban on marriage equality.”

Beshear’s rationale, via Gay Star News:

‘Both of these issues, as well as similar issues being litigated in other parts of the country, will be and should be ultimately decided by the US Supreme Court in order to bring finality and certainty to this matter,’ Beshear said in a statement following Conway’s announcement. ‘The people of this country need to know what the rules will be going forward. Kentucky should be a part of this process.

‘In every other appeal currently in process, a stay has been entered maintaining the status quo until a final decision is reached on appeal. The reason is obvious. Without a stay in place, the opportunity for legal chaos is real. Other Kentucky courts may reach different and conflicting decisions. There is already a lawsuit underway in Franklin Circuit Court, and other lawsuits in state and federal courts are possible. Employers, health care providers, governmental agencies and others faced with changing rules need a clear and certain roadmap. Also, people may take action based on this decision only to be placed at a disadvantage should a higher court reverse the decision.

‘I understand and respect the deep and strong emotions and sincere beliefs of Kentuckians on both sides of this issue, but all Kentuckians deserve an orderly process that will bring certainty and finality to this important matter.’

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USA, Kentucky: Marriage Equality Order Delayed 21 Days

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

KentuckyThe judge in the Kentucky marriage equality case has given the state 21 days to figure out how to implement his order.

Equality on Trial reports:

“…the court has granted a 21-day stay of its order requiring Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. This week, the state requested a 90-day stay, suggesting that the additional time “will give Defendants time to determine if they will appeal the order, and the Executive Branch time to determine what actions must be taken to implement this Court’s Order if no appeal is taken.”. The judge’s order granting the stay notes that “the state merely asks for reasonable time to implement the Order. The Court concludes that a limited stay allows the state proper time to administratively prepare for compliance with the Order.” The opinion says it was unclear why 90 days were needed for that purpose. The state will have until March 20 to implement its order requiring recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside of Kentucky.

In related news, new plaintiffs added to the case have resulted in a name change:

First, with the addition of new plaintiffs in the case asking the district court judge to invalidate Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriages, the case has been re-titled Love v. Beshear. One new plaintiff is named Timothy Love.

How perfect is that?

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USA, Kentucky: Judge Partially Strikes Down Ban on Marriage Equality

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

KentuckyUpdate – looks like the order forces KY to recognize marriage for other states. His ruling on the constitutionality of the ban itself is still pending – due in a few months.

Another red state sees its gay marriage ban struck down. More info here.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A federal judge has issued an order requiring the state of Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn on Thursday made final a ruling issued earlier this month in which he found that Kentucky’s marriage amendment and statutes violate the right to equal protection under the law. “Those laws … are void and unenforceable,” he said in a one page order.

What about a stay?

Earlier Thursday, Attorney General Jack Conway asked Heyburn to stay enforcement of his ruling while the state considers whether it will appeal, but Heyburn did not address that motion and for now his ruling goes into effect.

The ruling affects only the recognition of marriage from other states. Another hearing will occur in a few months on striking down the ban itself.

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USA, Kentucky: Marriage Equality Ruling Due Today, No Stay to Be Issued

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

KentuckyLooks like we may have another big ruling coming out today, this one in Kentucky.

Joe.My.God reports:

Here’s a very important bit of news we missed amidst all of yesterday’s hoopla: A federal judge said Wednesday afternoon that he would issue a final order within 24 hours requiring Kentucky to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. In response, lawyers for the attorney general’s office told U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II at a hearing that the state would “very promptly” decide whether to appeal the order. Heyburn told lawyers that his final order will not include a stay postponing it from taking effect. “There could be some confusion” among Kentuckians who quickly seek legal benefits stemming from their same-sex marriages, such as joint tax-filing status, if the state appeals 30 days later and delays the implementation of the order or throws its future into question, Heyburn cautioned.

We’re practically running over here just to keep up with the rapid pace of all these developments. Marriage equality in Kentucky by the end of the day????

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USA, Kentucky: New Marriage Equality Lawsuit

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Kentucky - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Continuing the week’s streak, we had a new red-state marriage equality lawsuit in Kentucky yesterday, on the heels of a decision that the state must recognize legal same sex marriages from other states.

Edge Boston reports:

A Kentucky couple sued the state Friday, seeking to force it to issue same-sex marriage licenses after a federal judge ruled earlier this week that unions performed legally in other places must be recognized by the Bluegrass State. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville seeks to build on that earlier ruling by raising the issue of whether Kentucky should sanction the marriages within its borders. The suit comes on the heels of a flurry of rulings and other legal activity as activists push more states to recognize gay marriages. A federal judge in Virginia late Thursday struck down that state’s ban, ruling it was unconstitutional.

This has been one of the most amazing weeks for marriage equality we’ve seen in awhile as lawsuit after lawsuit has moved ahead amidst Valentine’s Day actions and rallies. Truly amazing to be alive right now to witness this.

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USA, Kentucky: Judge Rules State Must Recognize Same Sex Marriages From Other States

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

KentuckyThis just in – big news from Kentucky as a judge strikes down part of that state’s ban on marriage equality.

The Courier Journal reports:

A federal judge Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … 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.” Heyburn said “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

He didn’t say the state has to start marrying same sex couples, but it’s certainly a huge crack in the wall.

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