Louisville, KY, United States (4E) – A federal judge issued a final order Thursday for Kentucky authorities to recognize out-of-state marriage of same-sex couples.
In his order, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II said part of a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment defining marriage in Kentucky as between one man and one woman were void and unenforceable for violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The order entitles same-sex couples married in other states to receive the legal benefits that other married couples in Kentucky receive.
State Attorney General Jack Conway asked Heyburn II to delay the implementation of the order for 90 days so they can prepare an appeal and so Gov. Steve Beshear can have enough time to prepare implementing the order if it is not appealed.
Heyburn did not rule on the request. Attorney Dan Canon, a lawyer of the four gay and lesbian couples who sought the voiding of the Kentucky laws, said there is no stay for the order.
Heyburn already ruled on Feb. 12 that the Kentucky laws are unconstitutional. He is also hearing a related lawsuit seeking an order for the state to issue marriage license to same-sex couples.
Heyburn’s order came a day after a federal judge in Texas ruled that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, but stayed implementing the rule to allow an appeal by the state.
Meanwhile, the Family Foundation of Kentucky criticized Canon for allegedly mishandling the case by not making persuasive arguments to keep the ban in place.