The judicial system in the United States of America is a many layered, incredibly tricky thing. While Barack Obama told the Supreme Court (the highest court in the country that takes judicial precedence over every other court in America) not to uphold same-sex marriage bans, there has still been the case of dismantling each and every one of the existing anti-same-sex marriage laws that can be found across the country’s 50 states. Since knocking down the Defense of Marriage Act (the law that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriage) in n, 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision has helped district courts in Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and more to rule that their anti-same-sex marriage laws are in violation of the US constitution. The latest state to follow such a ruling is Kentucky, helping pave the way for an unprecedented wave of progressive law in the south.
The ruling in Kentucky follows U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn’s announcement in February of this year that Kentucky’s refusal to recognise the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, although at the time Heyburn did not say anything pertaining to the state’s own ban on same-sex marriages. That has changed today though as the case of Love v. Beshear was brought to attention, with two same-sex couples filing a complaints against the fact that they couldn’t get married in the state. In Heyburn’s 19-page ruling for the case, he argued that same-sex marriage doesn’t damage the idea of heterosexual marriage in any way, shape or form, nor does it harm heterosexual people in general, leading him to say the following,
“Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree. Thus, same-sex couples’ right to marry seems to be a uniquely ‘free’ constitutional right. Hopefully, even those opposed to or uncertain about same-sex marriage will see it that way in the future.”
Heyburn’s ruling is monumental, not least because Kentucky is a notoriously conservative state and so while it doesn’t necessarily mean that same-sex couples in the state can go ahead and started drafting up pre-nups and Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear has already announced plans to appeal the ruling Heyburn made in February, it’s still the first step on a hopefully long and illustrious ladder of progressive change.