Federal Judge Strikes Down Kentucky's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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Months after declaring that Kentucky must recognize legal, out-of-state same-sex marriages, a federal judge struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Like many recent court opinions in favor of same-sex marriage, the decision is stayed pending appeal. So LGBT couples can't marry right away in Kentucky. 

As the Courier-Journal reported, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II dismissed the state's defense of its ban with the following words: "These arguments are not those of serious people." State governor Steve Beshear's legal team (attorney general Jack Conway isn't defending the law) argued that the ban stabilized the state's birth rate and economic prosperity. Heyburn added: 

 The state’s attempts to connect the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage to its interest in economic stability and in “ensuring humanity’s continued existence” are at best illogical and even bewildering. These arguments fail for the precise reasons that Defendant’s procreation argument fails. Numerous courts have repeatedly debunked all other reasons for enacting such laws. The Court can think of no other conceivable legitimate reason for Kentucky’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage. 

"In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," the judge wrote. 

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An appeal of today's decision will go to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is also set to review federal decisions on same-sex marriage cases in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. 

Here's the full decision:

232141238 Kentucky Gay Marriage

Update: Kentucky wasn't the only state with a same-sex marriage decision from the courts today. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told Indiana that it must recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple in the state. One member of the couple is terminally ill — they were legally married in Massachusetts. 

Last week, a federal judge struck down Indiana's same-sex marriage ban, an opinion that the very same appeals court stayed, temporarily halting same-sex marriages there. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.