Kentuckians involved in the gay marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court say they are relieved the legal battle is near its end.
The justices heard oral arguments on the gay marriage issue on Tuesday, and Kentuckians in the case traveled to Washington, D.C. to be present. They include Louisville residents Dominique James and Reverend Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard, who are among the Kentucky couples suing the state over its gay marriage ban.
Blanchard said the experience of watching his lawsuit argued before the nation’s highest court was emotional.
The plaintiffs—including Blanchard and James—walked out of the court to a sea of supporters and protesters.
“I just felt the presence of God then. I just did, and I don’t just say that because I am a minister. I say it because it was tangible,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard said he’s happy the legal process will soon be over, but he has mixed feelings.
“I am not happy of going back and not being able to hold the hand of my partner in public, which I first did today on the way to court,” he said.
“I grew up in the deep South, if you did that you would have a target on your back. But today, walking into the Supreme Court I held Dominique’s hand and it felt incredible. I have gotten used to better and I can’t go back.”
James said all he wants is for the justices to grant gay couples the same rights as other couples.
He said he’s hopeful they will end this fight once and for all.
“Honestly, I am ready for this part of it to be over and for us to be able to move on with our lives,” James said.
The state argued gay marriage is against its interests, and it should not be forced by the federal government to recognize those unions.
But Laura Landenwich, a Louisville attorney representing the plaintiffs, countered: “There were several very pointed questions for the state to offer some rational legitimate reason that justifies the exclusion of these families from the protections of state law, and they very clearly failed to do that.”
The justices are expected to announce a ruling by the end of June.