Kentucky must now recognize same-sex marriage

Same-sex couples married outside of Kentucky will now be recognized in the commonwealth.

Although Kentucky still doesn’t allow same-sex marriage in the state, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that Kentucky must recognize those married in other states.

U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II in Louisville, Ky., ruled in favor of four married couples who sued the state last year.

The ruling states: “in the end, the court concludes that Kentucky’s denial of recognition for valid same-sex marriages violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review.

“Accordingly, Kentucky’s statutes and constitutional amendment that mandate this denial are unconstitutional.”

The ruling struck down a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment, which restricted marriage in the state to one man and one woman.

Jody Cofer Randall, program coordinator of LGBT at Murray State, said the ruling by Heyburn is a positive step for same-sex couples in Kentucky.

“But there’s still a lot of uncertainty,” Cofer Randall said. “It doesn’t mandate that Kentucky will start marrying same-sex couples, although it does provide a pathway to having a same-sex couple get recognition.”

Nationwide, 17 states and Washington D.C. not only recognize gay marriage as an institution, but they also marry same-sex couples. One of those states is Illinois, directly across from the western border of Kentucky.


Staff report