Kentucky

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; a federal judge has ruled that the state must respect marriages between same-sex couples legally performed in other states and that same-sex couples must have the freedom to marry in the state. The decisions are now on appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, with the rulings stayed. 

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

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 are 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. 

The rulings were in Love v. Beshear and Bourke and Deleon v. Beshear, a federal lawsuit filed by private lawyers in July 2013. Read more about marriage litigation in Kentucky.

As the case makes its way up through the courts, Kentucky residents across the state will continue to do the work of having conversations about why marriage matters and creating a climate for victory. They are continuing to speak out in favor of equality, working to overturn anti-marriage laws in the state so that all same-sex couples can share in the freedom to marry.

HISTORY:

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. 

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE: 

  • The Fairness Campaign is an organization in Kentucky that advocates for gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 

POLLING DATA:

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)    

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

 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.

 

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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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