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Lawsuits - Resolved

Bourke v. Beshear

(Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza of Timothy Love, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear were added as plaintiffs to the case formerly known as Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear - the case as a whole is known as Bourke v. Beshear.)

Case #: 14-574 (SCOTUS); 3:13-cv-00750 (Federal District Court)
Date Filed: 26 July 2013
Court Level: SCOTUS
Date of Ruling: 26 June 2015


  • On 26 July 2013, 4 same-gender couples and their children filed a federal lawsuit challenging KY’s ban on recognizing same-sex couples married elsewhere - the case was named Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
  • 1 October 2013, KY Attorney General Clay Barkley asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming that the plaintiffs have no standing to bring this lawsuit.
  • 12 February 2014, the court struck down that specific ban, and rejected arguments about “responsible” procreation, tradition, and harm allegedly caused by same-sex marriages to mixed-gender marriages.
  • 14 February 2014, in Timothy Love & Lawrence Ysunza, et al., v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, et al., Shannon Fauver filed a federal “intervening complaint” for 2 gay male couples challenging the KY 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and asking to combine their complaint with Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, in which a federal judge ruled that the KY ban on recognizing same-gender couples married elsewhere is unconstitutional.
  • 27 February 2014, a judge ordered KY to immediately start recognizing same-sex marriage licenses issued outside KY; whether KY must also issue such licenses is being decided separately.
  • 28 February 2014, the court denied KY’s request for a 90-day stay of the order requiring KY to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and issued a 21-day stay instead. The recently added plaintiffs (Timothy Love and Laurence Ysunza) seeking marriage within KY had requested an injunction allowing marriages immediately, but the court also denied that request.
  • 4 March 2014, KY Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to appeal the federal court order that KY must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, which would have left as the only remaining issue the question of whether KY must issue marriage licenses to its own residents, but KY Governor Steve Beshear said he will hire outside lawyers to appeal that ruling.
  • 14 March 2014, KY Governor Steve Beshear asked the court to delay the 20 March 2014 effective date when KY must start recognizing marriages from other states.
  • 20 March 2014, the court stayed enforcement of its final order (requiring KY to recognize marriages performed elsewhere) pending the outcome from the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • 28 March 2014, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals set the briefing schedule: KY principal brief (7 May 2014), plaintiffs’ principal brief appendix (9 June 2014), Amicus Briefs (16 June 2014), KY reply brief (26 June 2014).
  • Oral argument scheduled for 6 August 2014, 1:00pm.
  • 6 August 2014, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument. Access audio of argument.
  • 6 November 2014, the 6th Circuit ruled reversing the lower court's ruling and upholding the state ban on marriage equality.
  • 7 November 2014, Analysis: Paths to same-sex marriage review - By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog
  • 7 November 2014, couples from the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee marriage cases all will be seeking SCOTUS review.
  • 17 November 2014, the Kentucky plaintiffs filed their Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court, seeking reversal of 6th Circuit decision. All four 6th Circuit states have now filed with SCOTUS!
  • 9 December 2014, the Kentucky Governor filed his Response in Support of Granting Cert.
  • 9 December 2014, Kentucky supports same-sex marriage review - By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog
  • 22 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Reply filed with SCOTUS. Note the addition of new attorneys from ACLU and Standford's Jeffrey L. Fisher
  • 23 December 2014, all of the the 6th Circuit marriage cases - Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee - are scheduled for the 9 January 2014 Supreme Court Conference. Also on the list for this conference (previously reported) is the petition for cert before judgment in the Louisiana case. Kentucky:
  • 9 January 2015, per Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog, the Court did not grant cert to (take for review) any new cases today. (See the 2nd through 5th cases listed in this article.) The orders that were issued today were routine. New orders will be released on Monday, 12 January 2015.
  • 12 January 2015, SCOTUS issued orders denying cert to Louisiana's Robicheaux before the 5th Circuit rules, but took no action on the cases from the 6th Circuit. Orders list. UPDATE: The Court has officially listed all four 6th Circuit marriage cases for consideration at their conference on Friday, 16 January 2015.
  • 16 January 2015, SCOTUS has spoken! All four 6th Circuit marriage cases are granted including this one. Briefing will be completed April 17, which means oral argument most likely the last week in April.
  • You can follow the marriage cases at SCOTUS on our National page under LAWSUITS-PENDING.
  • 27 February 2015, plaintiffs' brief submitted to SCOTUS.
  • 17 March 2015, Petitioners (plaintiffs) in the Supreme Court marriage cases made a formal request for divided argument time.
  • 27 March 2015, Kentucky's brief submitted to SCOTUS.
  • 28 April 2015, transcript and audio from SCOTUS arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges Question 2
  • 28 April 2015, Transcript and audio from SCOTUS arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges Question 1
  • 26 June 2015, WE WON! LOVE WON! Majority opinion by Justice Kennedy, 6-3. 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." READ THE RULING
  • 26 June 2015, live as of 2:00pm ET on June 26: Marriage Equality Facts
  • 28 July 2015, SCOTUS issued Judgment in the 6th Circuit cases (Obergefell).
    "THESE CAUSES came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the above court and were argued by counsel.
    "ON CONSIDERATION WHEREOF, it is ordered and adjudged by Court that the judgment of the above court are reversed with costs."
  • Details of this case at SCOTUS are posted as Obergefell on our National page under LAWSUITS-RESOLVED.
Love v. Beshear

Case #: 14-5818 (6th Circuit Court of Appeals),3:13-cv-00750 (District Court)
Date Filed: 14 February 2014 
Court Level: Federal District Court (6th)
Date of Appeal: July 2014
Date of SCOTUS Ruling (see above): 26 June 2015


  • Two same-sex couples moved to intervene in what wasBourke v. Beshear case (after the judge granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in that case, which raised only recognition claims).
  • That motion was granted and the judge renamed the case.
  • 2 February 2014, a motion for preliminary injunction was denied; 19 March 2014, answer filed.
  • 24 March 2014, the Attorney General was ordered dismissed as a defendant.
  • 18 April 2014, Plaintiffs-Intervenors filed motions for summary judgment and immediate injunctive relief. Defendant filed his response to plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on 19 May 2014; replies were filed 28 May 2014.
  • 19 May 2014 the governor filed his opposition to the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. He quoted the "continuation of the human race and that only man-woman couples can naturally procreate" argument.
  • 28 May 2014, the plaintiffs filed their reply in support of Summary Judgment in which they blasted the "procreation" argument the governor made.
  • 1 July 2014, Federal District Court Judge G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky’s ban on performing same-sex marriages is unconstitutional – in his opinion and order the judge stayed his ruling.
  • Case appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 16 July 2014, briefing schedule set.
  • 6 November 2014, the 6th Circuit ruled reversing the lower court's ruling and upholding the state ban on marriage equality.
  • This case was consolidated with Bourke v. Beshear immediately above. Read the consolidated case.
Romero v. Romero

Case #: 3CI-503351
Date Filed: 25 October 2013
Date of Ruling: 12 January 2015


  • This is the state’s first divorce case involving a same-sex couple who were married in another state where same-sex marriages are legal (Massachusetts), and want to end their marriage in Kentucky.
  • 6 November 2013, Response and Counter-Petition filed.
  • April 2014 the Romeros entered into a property settlement and a motion for Decree of Dissolution was filed on 14 April 2014.
  • The couple’s lawyer has announced she plans to appeal if divorce petition is dismissed.
  • 12 January 2015, Judge Joseph O'Reilly granted the divorce. Gay divorce granted by family court judge - By Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal
Kentucky v. Bobbie Jo Clary

Case #: 11-CR-3329
Date Filed: 2011
Ruling Date: 23 September 2013


  • On 29 October 2011, George Murphy died at his home in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. Prosecutors believe Bobbi Jo Clary, the defendant, committed murder by striking him with a hammer. Clary asserts that she acted in self-defense, that Murphy had been attacking her and had raped her.
  • Prosecutors also say that Clary's civil union partner, Geneva Case, observed evidence in the death and heard Clary admit to murder, and they sought to compel Clary to testify against Case.
  • Clary sought to invoke “marital privilege” by reason of her Vermont Civil Union to Case, and Case sought to quash the subpoena issued against her demanding she testify against Clary.
  • The judge ruled that it was abundantly clear that Kentucky does not recognize same-sex marriages within the state or from other states, and that Case was mandated to testify against Clary.
  • Follow-up: In January 2014, after pleading guilty to murder, robbery and tampering with physical evidence, Clary was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

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