In a February 12 ruling, US District Judge John G. Heyburn II struck down Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional ban on recognition of legal marriages by same-sex couples performed in other states.
According to the Courier-Journal of Lexington, Heyburn, ruling in a case brought by four gay and lesbian couples, cited last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Edie Windsor’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in finding the Kentucky ban violated the couples' right to equal protection of the law.
The ruling did not invalidate the ban on performing same-sex marriages in Kentucky.
Heyburn, the newspaper reported, found that Kentucky’s reliance on “preserving the state’s institution of traditional marriage” was an insufficient basis to justify the non-recognition policy, pointing to precedents dating back to the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.
Heyburn was appointed to the federal judiciary in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush.
Federal appeals court action is currently pending in marriage equality victories in Utah and Oklahoma and regarding a district court ruling that struck down Ohio’s ban on out-of-state recognition and a decision that upheld Nevada’s ban on marriage by gay and lesbian couples.
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