According to a decision by Kentucky federal judge, John G. Heyburn II, same-sex couples have the right to marry.
"In America, even sincere and long-held religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," Heyburn wrote to invalidate Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
In Tuesday’s ruling in favor of two Louisville couples, he rejected Governor Beshear’s argument that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state's long-term economic stability. "These arguments are not those of serious people," he said.
While the ruling has been stayed until August 6th, Louisville residents have already spoken out about their feelings on the potential that same-sex couples could wed in Kentucky.
Josh Johnson—Blogger at The Kentucky Gent
“I feel hopeful. From what I've read, same-sex couples still aren't allowed to wed until the oral argument in the Court of Appeals on August 6th, which breaks my heart a little. I'm excited that our state has made the decision to overturn the ban however, it definitely opens the doors for us to make major steps in the right direction, and I hope Kentucky stands on the right side of this decision. I had a talk with someone in California earlier that was asking about Kentucky and what it was like, I told her it's a great state and we're really growing up, especially Louisville. Fingers crossed this decision proves me right.”
Chris Hartman—Director of The Fairness Campaign
“Judge Heyburn's ruling today in favor of same-gender marriage in Kentucky is an exciting and historic moment for our commonwealth. As federal judges across the country continue to chime in accord for the constitutional right of all people to marry, the tipping point for full LGBT fairness draws ever nearer. We agree wholeheartedly with Judge Heyburn's blunt rebuff of Governor Beshear's embarrassing and offensive legal arguments against same-gender marriage, and look forward to the next steps in this case with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments on August 6.
The work of the Fairness Campaign and our Fairness Coalition with the ACLU-KY and others will continue to focus acutely on the advancement of LGBT discrimination protections across our commonwealth, where most folks can still be legally fired from a job or denied a restaurant visit based solely on who they are or whom they love.”
Dora James—Western Kentucky Organizer of The Fairness Campaign
"I was thrilled when I learned about the ruling from Judge Heyburn today, and pleasantly surprised. Not surprised by the outcome of today, but by how quickly Kentuckians are moving towards marriage equality. I think this decision only further illustrates the rising trend in our country towards LGBT rights. I'm also very pleased with the opportunity this gives Kentucky to be a leader of marriage equality in the south. I'm confident that loving, committed, same-sex Kentucky couples will be able to legally marry. This is cause for celebration."
Blake Reichenbach—Student at Bellarmine University
“The feeling is difficult to explain, but it's certainly one of excitement and anticipation. It's similar to when DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was struck down last summer-- it's a moment of celebration that I will remember with joy, but at the same time, I know it also means that there will be backlash by those who do not support marriage equality that I will have to listen to and endure until several months after a final ruling is made.”
Dr. Kaila Story—Host of Strange Fruit and Audre Lorde Endowed Chair in Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Louisville
“I am beyond pleased with Judge Heyburn deeming Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. I was also pleased when Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to pursue an appeal. I am, however, disappointed with the decisions to wait on the 6th district court's decisions as well as Governor Beshear's decision to appeal Heyburn's ruling, but I expected it. Despite the ‘stays’ and other setbacks, I am hopeful that same sex couples will be able to marry in the state of Kentucky in the near future.”
Jaison Gardner—Host of Strange Fruit and Founder of Derby City Black Pride
“I was very excited to hear about Judge Heyburn's ruling declaring Kentucky's ban on gay marriage illegal. But I wasn't surprised by his ruling, as every federal judge that has heard a case on a gay marriage ban has found it unconstitutional and discriminatory, so I expected Judge Heyburn's decision to follow suit. I think his ruling sends a strong message in dispelling the misconception that the South is not just as progressive a region as the East and West coasts and that the South is proving to be a place where LGBT people today can chose to remain and thrive in full equality, instead of escaping to New York or San Francisco as was once the case. Hopefully other southern states will follow Kentucky's lead in moving toward full equality for LGBT folks. It's inevitable. As Dr. King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
Alex Marks—Student at University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law
“Honestly, this is something I have been hoping and waiting for and I am ecstatic that the day may finally come that I can be married in my home state. I have wondered for years how it may happen, and now that same-sex marriage legality is in the works for Kentucky I know I can stay here and live happily.”
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