12:10pm

Fri July 26, 2013
The Commonwealth

Couple Challenges Kentucky's Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

Credit City of West Hollywood

A Louisville couple on Friday challenged Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages, saying the state isn't putting them and other same-sex couples on equal footing with other married couples. Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon are asking a federal judge in Louisville to require the state to recognize valid unions from other states and countries.

The men are seeking an injunction to stop state and local officials from enforcing the ban written into the Kentucky constitution in 2004. The suit is the first such challenge in Kentucky since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law blocking married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual spoouse.

Bourke, a 55-year-old applications consultant at Humana, and Deleon, a 55-year-old database administrator at General Electric, were married in Ontario, Canada in 2004.

"Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples build their lives together, plan their futures together and hope to grow old together," attorneys Dawn Elliott and Shannon Fauver wrote in the lawsuit.

Challenges to same-sex marriage bans have emerged in recent weeks in Pennsylvania, Arkansas and New Mexico. The American Civil Liberties Union has said challenges are also expected in Virginia, Nevada, Hawaii and Michigan.

Kentucky altered its state constitution in 2004 to include the prohibition on same-sex marriage. The amendment reads "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky" and "A marriage between members of the same sex which occurs in another jurisdiction shall be void in Kentucky."