Marriage Equality USA

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Current Status


  • Kentucky is home of the legal case Jones v. Hallahan (1973), in which the court ruled against the two lesbian plaintiffs. The plaintiffs relied on constitutional claims: a fundamental right to marry (as ruled by U.S. Supreme Court, but applied only to opposite-sex marriages), the right of association, and the right to free exercise of religion (both under the First Amendment), and the contention that the refusal of a marriage license subjected them to cruel and unusual punishment (as forbidden by the Eighth Amendment).
  • 7 November 2014, couples from the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee marriage cases all sought SCOTUS review. See Bourke v. Beshear.
  • Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions, per Constitutional Amendment 1, as of 2004.
  • On 12 February 2014 U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. His ruling was stayed pending appeal. Update: Judge Heyburn passed away on 29 April 2015. Judge John G. Heyburn II, who struck down the Kentucky marriage ban, has died - By Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal
  • On 6 November 2014, the 6th Circuit ruled reversing the lower court's ruling and upholding the state ban on marriage equality.
  • 16 January 2015, the 6th Circuit Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee marriage cases all were accepted by SCOTUS for review! Oral argument took place on 28 April 2015, with a ruling issued on 26 June 2015. See Bourke v. Beshear.
  • State ban nullified by U.S. Supreme Court ruling on 26 June 2015. 26 June 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their decision in Obergefell, the marriage case, ruling on the side of love and marriage! Majority opinion by Justice Kennedy, 5-4. Per @SCOTUSblog, the Court's opinion relies on the dual rationales of fundamental rights AND equal protection and seems to go out of its way not to state a standard of scrutiny. "...the majority opinion rejects the claim that marriage is about procreation, even while saying that protecting children of same-sex couples supports the Court's ruling: "This is not to say that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State."

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