A federal judge has ruled against Kentucky’s ban on marriage equality.
US District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote in his decision, “In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted.” He concluded that the state’s laws against recognizing same-sex relationships “violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and they are void and unenforceable.”
He also ordered that his ruling be stayed pending appeal in the 6th US Circuit Court, explicitly preventing same-sex marriages from taking place in the state for the time being.
The ruling comes less than five months after Heyburn struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing out of state same-sex marriages in February 2014, in which he also ruled that it violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Kentucky’s ban on marriage equality is already scheduled to be heard in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on August 6, when it will consider cases originating from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, each dealing with whether their marriage equality bans are in violation of guaranteed constitutional rights. The hearing will be the first to consider so many states’ cases at once.
Since the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in June 2013, same-sex marriage has been legalized in eight states, and one or more lawsuits are pending against every remaining ban. Over the last twelve months, twenty-two cases regarding state laws and constitutional amendments taken to state and federal courts have been heard—and every single ban has lost.
Read the full text of the ruling below: