Kentucky joined the marriage equality fight Wednesday as a federal judge ruled that the state’s ban on recognizing legal gay & lesbian marriages performed in other states
violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II has now joined 9 other federal & state courts in overturning these unconstitutional bans. Heyburn stated, "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. It is clear that Kentucky's laws treat gay & lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them." Though Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state, this is still a giant step forward in the marriage equality movement. Heyburn also rejected the Family Foundation of Kentucky arguments that recognizing gay & lesbian marriages would undermine the fundamental role of marriage in ensuring procreation adding that there is no requirement that opposite-sex couples agree to procreate to get married. He concluded that, "no one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-gender marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages." The suit was filed on behalf of Gregory Bourke & Michael Deleon of Louisville, who were married in Ontario, Canada, in 2004; Jimmy Meade & Luther Barlowe, who live in Bardstown & were legally married in Davenport, Iowa, in 2009; Randell Johnson & Paul Campion, who live in Louisville & were married in Riverside, California in 2008; & Kimberly Franklin & Tamera Boyd, who live in Cropper & were married in Stratford, Connecticut in 2010. Their children were also named in the suit.
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