Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II, in a ruling that could ... could ... open the door to same-sex marriages in the state, has struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs ... are vital to the fabric of society ... assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons [and] it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”
Um yeah, we’ve been saying that all along.
Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the state but he did say that Kentucky’s sole justification for their Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages was it “rationally related to the legitimate government interest of preserving the state’s institution of traditional marriage.”
So Heyburn talked about traditional marriage, noting that over the last nearly half-century the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to allow mere tradition to justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties, such as the bans on interracial marriages that were once the law in Virginia, Kentucky and other states.
Heyburn also rejected the arguments of the Family Foundation of Kentucky — that recognizing same-sex marriages would undermine the fundamental role of marriage in ensuring procreation — in saying that there is no requirement that opposite-sex couples agree to procreate to get married. He also said “no one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-sex marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages.”
Responding to the ruling, Martin Cothran, an analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky, said Heyburn’s ruling “nullifies the right of Kentucky to determine policies regarding marriage” and that “Kentucky marriage policy will now be dictated from places like Boston and San Francisco.”
Actually, Marty, what he said was the ban is discriminatory and that it violates the U.S. Constitution with its discrimination; and Boston and San Francisco have no place in your arguments, other than trying to rile up your conservative base by mentioning two gay-friendly cities where marriage is legal for everyone.
Here’s the deal, and Judge Heyburn said it simply: same-sex marriage does not harm opposite-sex marriage; marriage is not performed solely for the purposes of pro-creation; discrimination is bad.
It’s really quite simple. And Kentucky is learning that lesson now, and other states will follow.