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On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, ending marriage discrimination throughout the nation. This decision was quickly implemented by states across the country, including in Kentucky. Read more about the ruling here.


In 2004, anti-gay forces in Kentucky pushed through Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any other form of legal family status. 

In July 2013, Fauver Law Office, later joined by Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Stanford Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, filed two lawsuits called Love v. Beshear and Bourk and Deleon v. Besehar.

On July 1, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry. The decision came just a few months after he ruled that Kentucky must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. Both decisions were stayed pending further action from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. 

Gov. Beshear sought outside counsel to appeal the ruling, since KY Attorney General Jack Conway has said that the marriage ban is indefensible and that he would not appeal Judge Heyburn's decision. 

On November 6, 2014, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the freedom to marry.

The United States Supreme Court granted review in the cases Love v. Beshear and Bourke and Deleon v. Besehar on January 16, 2015.

On April 28, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the freedom to marry in Kentucky.


  • The Fairness Campaign is an organization in Kentucky that advocates for gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms throughout the country.
  • The Campaign for Southern Equality is a national effort to assert the full humanity and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in American life and to increase public support for LGBT rights. 
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 


Support for the freedom to marry has increased dramatically in the past 8 years, with 33% of the population now supporting marriage. In 2004, just 21% were supportive. (Williams Institute, 2012)    


 According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 7,195 same-sex couples are living in Kentucky, representing 4.2 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.


Blog Posts Related to Kentucky

Communities send plaintiffs and lawyers off for oral arguments at the Supreme Court

This month, on April 28, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in cases from four states: Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Read the stories of the families fighting for marriage before the Supreme Court

Yesterday, April 16, the Associated Press published 15 profiles exploring the personal stories of the people who are putting their families, lives, and love in the spotlight to fight for the freedom to marry across the nation.

MOMENTUM IN KY: Circuit Judge in Kentucky rules in favor of freedom to marry

Yesterday, April 16, a Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate in Kentucky ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for two same-sex couples in the state, putting the decision on hold until the United States Supreme Court rules on the question of the freedom to marry later this year.

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Resources Related to Kentucky

Kentucky Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Kentucky.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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