A federal judge has struck down Kentucky's ban on same-sex couples getting licenses and marrying in the state. However, Tuesday's ruling was temporarily put on hold because it will be appealed.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn in Louisville concluded that the state's prohibition on same-sex couples being wed violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by treating gay couples differently than straight couples.
Chris Hartman, Executive Director of Kentucky Fairness, says he is “ecstatic,” adding "I definitely think it's also in line with the federal constitution to suggest that the right of marriage can be denied to folks based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity."
Opponents of gay marriage include the Kentucky Family Foundation. According to Executive Director, Kent Ostrander, Judge Heyburn has declared “martial law” on marriage in the Commonwealth, saying, "This is just another indication that we are no longer a nation of laws but we're a nation of judges. And, as far as government of the people, by the people and for the people that has gone by the wayside and it's the opinions of a handful of med and women in black robes that are making the decisions for us.”
Heyburn previously struck down Kentucky's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages from other states and
countries, but put the implementation of that ruling on hold. That decision did not deal with whether Kentucky would have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.