Bourke v. Beshear
On March 4, 2014, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced that he was seeking outside counsel to appeal a Feb. 12 opinion from a federal judge who ordered the state to respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. Just minutes before the governor's announcement, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway rightly declared that the state's ban on same-sex couples from marrying is indefensible, and that he would not seek appeal. Now, if Gov. Beshear appeals the decision, it will be heard before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the jude allowed two unmarried same-sex couples to intervene in the case in order to seek the freedom to marry in the state of Kentucky. All plaintiffs in the case are represented by private counsel.
On July 26, 2013, private lawyers in Louisville, KY filed a federal lawsuit in the 6th Circuit on behalf of four same-sex couples arguing that Kentucky's anti-marriage laws violate the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
One of the couples, Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon, have been together for 31 years and married in Canada in 2004, but because of Kentucky's anti-marriage laws, they are treated as an unmarried couple. The case seeks a permanent injunction requiring Kentucky to respect marriages between same-sex couples performed outside of the state. Watch video from the Kentucky natives speaking about why they are a part of the lawsuit here.
On February 12, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. He said, "It is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them." The ruling does not mean, however, that same-sex couples can marry within Kentucky.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson explained the significance of the case. He said, "Today a Republican-appointed federal judge in Kentucky held – as did judges in Utah and Oklahoma weeks ago and as did the U.S. Supreme Court last year – that there is simply no legitimate justification for denying equal protection to same-sex couples, echoing the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry, including a growing number of conservatives. 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. With one of the many cases across the country potentially making it to the Supreme Court as soon as 2015, we must continue to make the case across the country that America - all of America - is ready for the freedom to marry."
On Friday, February 14, two additional couples filed a motion to intervene in the case seeking the freedom to marry in Kentucky. The couples - Timothy Love & Lawrence Ysunza and Maurice Blanchard & Dominque James - want to marry in their home states of Kentucky. On February 26, Judge Heyburn ruled that the other couples were permitted to join the suit, which is now also named Love v. Beshear
Judge Heyburn finalized his ruling on February 27 and on February 28, granted the state's request for a 21-day stay in the ruling. On March 4, the Attorney General announced he would not appeal the ruling, which was quickly followed by a statement from the Governor, who said he would be seeking outside counsel to appeal the decision.
Kentucky Equality Federation v. Beshear
On September 10, 2013, private lawyers filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of the Kentucky Equality Federation against the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The lawsuit seeks to achieve equal rights and protections for same-sex couples and their families in Kentucky, arguing that the 2004 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution violates the Constitution.
The case seeks state respect for legal marriages performed outside of Kentucky.
Romero v. Romero
On October 25, 2013, a Kentucky woman asked the state to recognize her out-of-state marriage to a woman for the purpose of filing for divorce. The woman, Alysha Romero, had married her wife, Rebecca Sue Romero, in Massachusetts.
The lawsuit was filed in Jefferson Family Court. Under Kentucky law, it is unclear whether the plaintiffs' out-of-state marriage can be terminated, because Kentucky does not respect marriages between same-sex couples.
- MOTION FILED: For Summary Judgement in 'Bourke & Deleon v. Beshear'
- MOTION FILED: To Intervene in 'Bourke & Deleon v. Beshear'
- RULING: 'Bourke & Deleon v. Beshear'
- MOTION FILED: For Summary Judgment in 'Bourke v. Beshear'
- INITIAL COMPLAINT: 'Bourke & Deleon v. Beshear'
- MEET THE PLAINTIFFS: 'Bourke & Deleon v. Beshear'
- INITIAL COMPLAINT: 'Kentucky Equality Federation v. Beshear'
- RULING: 'Kentucky v. Clary'
- MOTION FILED: For Invocation of Marital Privilege, 'Kentucky v. Clary'
- BACKGROUND: The Freedom to Marry in Kentucky