Federal Judge Strikes Down Kentucky’s Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down down Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage, saying it was unconstitutional.

In his 19-page ruling, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote: “[T]his Court holds that the Commonwealth’s exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause [of the U.S. Constitution].”

“In America, even sincerely and long-held religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted,” he added.

In February, Heyburn ordered the state to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Heyburn, who was appointed to the bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, put his ruling on hold.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, applauded the decision.

“Today a Republican-appointed federal judge in Kentucky held – as have more than 20 other judges and as did the U.S. Supreme Court last year – that discriminatory state marriage bans are unconstitutional,” Wolfson said in a statement. “It is wrong for the government to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love; a freedom that is part of every American’s liberty and pursuit of happiness. Today’s ruling in Kentucky underscores that America – all of America – is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should bring the country to national resolution as soon as possible.”

State lawyers argued that the ban was needed to “ensure humanity’s continued existence.”

“The continued expansion of the population through stable birth rate growth fosters long-term economic stability, unquestionably a valid state interest,” the state argued.

Heyburn dismissed the arguments as “not those of serious people.”

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, hired private attorneys for the case after Attorney General Jack Conway announced that he would not defend in court Kentucky’s 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine