Kentucky

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; in spring 2015, the United States Supreme Court will review an out-of-step ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals about the freedom to marry in Kentucky. Learn all about the freedom to marry at the Supreme Court here.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On January 16, the United States Supreme Court granted review of the out-of-step ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals about the freedom to marry in Kentucky. The case will be heard on April 28, with a ruling expected by June 2015, which could bring the freedom to marry nationwide.

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. 

The rulings were in Love v. Beshear and Bourke and Deleon v. Beshear, a federal lawsuit filed in July 2013 by Fauver Law Office, later joined by Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Stanford Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. Read more about marriage litigation in Kentucky.

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

As the plaintiffs prepare for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling this spring, 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.
  • 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. 

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.

 

Blog Posts Related to 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.

Louisville choral group sends off KY Supreme Court plaintiffs with marriage-themed concert

When VOICES of Kentuckiana choir began preparing for their spring concert a few months ago, discussing themes and messages, they didn't realize how perfectly timed their performance would be.

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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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