Kentucky Won't Appeal Order To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages
"Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will not appeal a federal judge's order that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages," NPR member station WFPL reports from Louisville.
"From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right," Conway said in announcing his decision on Tuesday, the station adds.
We reported about Judge Heyburn's decision last Thursday. As The Lexington Herald-Leader wrote at the time, it struck down "portions of a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment defining marriage in Kentucky as between one man and one woman, and that prohibited the state from recognizing same-sex marriages legally performed in other states."
Heyburn wrote that "in a democracy, the majority routinely enacts its own moral judgments as laws. Kentucky's citizens have done so here. Whether enacted by a legislature or by public referendum, those laws are subject to the guarantees of individual liberties contained within the United States Constitution."
Today, the Herald-Leader adds, "Conway said he prayed about [his] decision and decided to put 'people over politics. ... I can only say that I'm doing what I think is right.' "
Louisville's Courier-Journal writes that Conway "began choking up at the end of the statement before leaving without taking questions."
The Associated Press adds that:
"Conway's decision means same-sex couples in Kentucky who were married in other states will be allowed to pursue name changes, file joint tax returns with the state, and seek to have names added to birth certificates.
"The Democrat said at a news conference that if he appealed, 'I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do.' "
As the AP also reminds us, "the decision in the socially conservative state comes against the backdrop of similar rulings or actions in other states where same-sex couples have long fought for the right to marry. ... A federal judge in Texas last week struck down that state's gay marriage ban but immediately delayed the implementation of his ruling pending appeals by the state. In January, the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on a decision in Utah recognizing same-sex marriages."
There have also been recent rulings on same-sex marriage bans enacted in some states. Virginia's ban was struck down by a federal judge last month.