Judge Rules Against Ky. Gay Marriage Ban, But Hurdles Remain

A federal judge found Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but couples will have to wait on a circuit court ruling to wed.

Judge Rules Against Ky. Gay Marriage Ban, But Hurdles Remain
Flickr / Marc Love

Continuing a string of victories for gay rights' advocates, a Kentucky judge has revoked the state's ban on same-sex marriage, declaring the law unconstitutional. Though, gay couples in the state won't be able to wed just yet.

Federal District Judge John Heyburn II who ruled in February that Kentucky must honor same-sex marriages from other states took that decision one step further Tuesday. (Via WKYT)

Heyburn struck down the state's current ban prohibiting its own gay couples from getting married, saying it violates the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution. (Via WDTN)

 "The judge said it violates the equal protection clause by treating gay couples differently from straight couples." (Via Fox News)

Heyburn is quoted in USA Today saying, "In America, even sincere and long-held religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," and that the current law doesn't afford same-sex couples the "intangible and and emotional benefits of civil marriage."

The Judge also issued a stay until the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules on same-sex cases from all four states in its jurisdiction, including Kentucky — meaning gay couples in the southern state will have to wait for the appeal before possibly heading down the aisle. (Via Flickr / Marc Love)

The Courier-Journal reports the plaintiffs in the case were ecstatic with the ruling after having been refused a marriage license in 2013.

"It was just part of the ban that was struck down, and we wanted to see the entire ban struck down. And, now the headline is 'Love Wins.'" (Via The Courier-Journal)

Not all were happy about the decision, though, including Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

According to National Journal, Beshear and his attorneys have been trying to uphold the ban, claiming same-sex marriages will impact "birth rates" and the state's "economic stability."

But Heyburn rejected this notion, declaring Beshear's arguments to be "bewildering and irrational." (Via Western District of Kentucky

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to weigh in on the decision Aug. 6 in Cincinnati.