Judge: Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state

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On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down part of Kentucky’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

The judge ruled the state must recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Last year, four gay and lesbian couples from the Louisville area brought lawsuits challenging Kentucky to recognize their same-sex marriages. On Wednesday, they finally got what they’d been waiting for.

U.S. District Judge John Heyburn says Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states violated the U.S. Constitutions’ guarantee of equal protection.

“It directly impacts our family because in the state of Kentucky only one person of the same gender can adopt same children, so in our situation-- our children have one legal parent-- that is only one of the two of us,” said Randy Johnson, plaintiff.

Now both partners will be recognized.

Same-sex couples who have been married out-of-state will now have the same protections in Kentucky as any opposite sex couple.

For example, they can now file together for tax purposes and the spouse will be listed on the death certificate.

But not everyone is celebrating the recent landmark ruling.

“Judge Heyburn is opening the door for far more than just the recognition of legal same-sex marriage for other states it will be followed by other things quite quickly,” said Albert Mohler with the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville.

Whether you support or oppose the ruling, both sides seem to agree on the fact that this major milestone for marriage here in Kentucky.

Judge Heyburn did not rule on whether the state could be forced to perform same-sex marriages. That question was not included in the lawsuits.

A recent WKYT-Herald Leader Bluegrass Poll found 55% of Kentuckians who responded to the poll are opposed to same-sex marriage, that's down from 70% ten years ago.

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