Today, Kentucky became the latest state to have its ban on marriage equality ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, and the case will soon join others based in Utah, Nevada, Ohio and Oklahoma at the appellate level.
U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky ’s marriage amendment violates the constitutional principal of equal protection and that the Commonwealth cannot refuse to recognize valid same-sex marriages conducted in other states. The judge, who was appointed to the bench by President George H. W. Bush, sided with four plaintiff couples who had legally married elsewhere before seeking state recognition in Kentucky.
In light of the news, HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
“Today, this nation took another bold step toward its fundamental constitutional principles of equal justice under the law. This amendment is unconstitutional, and we believe the only true solution to the injustice faced by these plaintiffs is full marriage equality. We hope all parties act swiftly and fairly to allow all loving and committed Kentucky couples the opportunity to marry in the state they call home.”
This new marriage ruling is not final and is likely to be appealed, joining other federal court cases in Utah, Nevada, Ohio and Oklahoma—all of which are currently at the appellate level. This week, the Attorney General in Nevada withdrew that state’s defense of its marriage ban in a case currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A new ruling is expected soon in a federal marriage case in Virginia (Bostic v. Rainey).