As expected, a federal judge has issued an order that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state.
The Liousville-Courier reports:
Dan Canon, another lawyer for the four gay and lesbian couples who won the case, said he was “cautiously optimistic. The order has been granted without qualification and without a stay.”
He said for now that means same-sex couples in Kentucky who legally wed elsewhere can file their taxes together and apply for spousal health benefits. If one of the spouses has a baby while the order is in effect, the law would presume that the spouse’s partner is the other parent, he said.
Elliott said she is “quietly encouraging” clients to take advantage of the ruling now, before Heyburn rules on Conway’s motion for a stay. She said the benefits that same-sex couples receive in the meantime would only be at risk if Conway appeals and Heyburn’s ruling is reversed.
Citing the importance of the case, Conway’s office asked Heyburn to delay the effective date of his order for 90 days to give him time to decide whether to appeal, and to allow Beshear time to decide how to implement the order if it is not appealed.
The motion suggests that Conway is at least considering joining six other state attorneys general who have decided not to appeal rulings throwing out marriage bans. Those officials, all Democrats, said the laws are discriminatory and violate the right to equal protection under the law.The judge has yet to rule on the separate but related question of whether the laws of Kentucky that ban the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples can withstand legal scrutiny in light of the Supreme Court's Windsor ruling. It seems unlikely that if the state must recognize legal marriages from other states that the state also will have to issue marriage licenses as well.