Kentucky's attorney general's office says the state's same-sex marriage ban should stand but acknowledge overturning it would grant gay couples the same legal protections as straight couples.
The state made its defense of the ban in response to a lawsuit brought by Gregory Bourke and Michael De Leon of Louisville, who were married in Canada nine years ago. The men filed suit in July to force the state to recognize valid unions from other states and countries.
In a filing in federal court in Louisville, Assistant Attorney General Clay Barkley asked U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II to dismiss the suit. Barkley wrote that Bourke and De Leon lack standing to challenge the law.
Kentucky changed its state constitution in 2004 to include the prohibition on same-sex marriage.