Local News

A federal judge intends to issue on final ruling on whether Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages within the next day.

The action could mean that same-sex couples married outside of Kentucky would be officially recognized by the state immediately, attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case—Bourke v. Beshear—said on Tuesday. But state Attorney General Jack Conway could appeal the case (he has 30 days) and then ask for a stay on recognizing out-of-state same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge John Heyburn issued a preliminary opinion earlier this month stating that Kentucky’s 2004 same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. The final order would make that opinion official. 

Dan Canon, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Tuesday that the Attorney General’s office did not indicate in a hearing Tuesday whether it would seek a stay. But he said the full ramifications of Heyburn’s opinion may take time to sort out.

Heyburn will also allow two couples seeking to be married in Kentucky to join the case, said Dawn Elliott, another attorney representing the plaintiffs. Those couples—Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza, and Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard and Dominique James—have been denied marriage licenses in Louisville.

The question of whether same-sex couples can be married in Kentucky will be placed on a separate track, Canon said.

The federal lawsuit was initiated by Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon, who were married in 2004 in Canada.