Kentucky Judge Throws Out Part Of State's Ban On Gay Marriage

A small step towards gay marriage in Kentucky: If a gay Kentucky couple marries in another state, Kentucky must now recognize the same-sex marriage as valid. A federal judge ruled Kentucky's ban on accepting gay marriage as unconstitutional Wednesday because it threatens equal protection rights. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that Kentucky will allow same-sex marriages to occur inside the state. (Yet.)

"It is clear that Kentucky's laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them," U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote in the ruling. “Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed in July 2013 by four gay and lesbian Kentucky couples who were married in Canada, Iowa, California, and Connecticut. They petitioned against a 2004 constitutional amendment in Kentucky that mandated "only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky."

Heyburn cited the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn critical parts the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013 as the reasoning behind his decision, giving a shout-out to conservative Judge Antonin Scalia's support of state laws in the process.

Of course, some people aren't too pleased with the decision, including Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

This decision moves us down the slippery slope toward launching Kentucky into moral chaos and depriving children of their innate need of both a father and a mother... I pray the appeals process will honor the Commonwealth’s constitution and protect her children.

Moral chaos?! Ugh.

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