Main | Thursday, February 27, 2014

KENTUCKY: Marriage Ruling Due Today, Judge Says No Stay Will Be Issued
UPDATE: Attorney General Seeks Delay

Here's a very important bit of news we missed amidst all of yesterday's hoopla.
A federal judge said Wednesday afternoon that he would issue a final order within 24 hours requiring Kentucky to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. In response, lawyers for the attorney general's office told U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II at a hearing that the state would "very promptly" decide whether to appeal the order. Heyburn told lawyers that his final order will not include a stay postponing it from taking effect. "There could be some confusion" among Kentuckians who quickly seek legal benefits stemming from their same-sex marriages, such as joint tax-filing status, if the state appeals 30 days later and delays the implementation of the order or throws its future into question, Heyburn cautioned.
Note that the ruling will force Kentucky to recognize out-of-state marriages, but will not lift the ban on in-state gay marriages. The plaintiffs, Gregory Bourke and Michael De Leon (above), were married in Canada ten years ago. The named defendants in the suit are Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway.  Conway, you may recall, issued a tepid defense of the suit in October. will likely be ANOTHER very big day. (Tipped by JMG reader Matthew)

UPDATE: Kentucky AG Jack Conway has requested a 90-day delay in the ruling.
The two-page filing Thursday morning says the delay is sought to give the attorney general time to decide whether to appeal the Feb. 12 ruling and would give the state an opportunity to prepare to implement the order. The request came as parties in the case were awaiting a final order from U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II overturning part of Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban. Earlier this month, Heyburn concluded that the ban, which has been in place since 2004, treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."

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