Attorneys for Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, both 55, filed the legal challenge on Friday in federal court, contending that Kentucky’s statute violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky,” states a constitutional amendment passed in 2004. “A marriage between members of the same sex which occurs in another jurisdiction shall be void in Kentucky.”
Bourke and DeLeon have been together for a reported 31 years and had a 2004 ceremony in Canada, where same-sex “marriage” is legal.
However, because Kentucky will not recognize their union as a marriage, the men state that they are being deprived of a number of benefits that are afforded to heterosexual couples. Bourke has two adopted children, but the state will not recognize DeLeon as a parent, and the men are also not qualified for certain tax breaks afforded to families.
“We feel like victims of discrimination,” Bourke told the Associated Press. “That’s what this lawsuit is about, not being treated equally under the law.”
However, the Kentucky Family Association called the lawsuit “unfortunate.”
“It’s unfortunate that there are people out there who want to ban this state from defining marriage as it has been defined by virtually everyone since the beginning of recorded history,” Martin Cothran told reporters.
As previously reported, a lawsuit was also filed last month by the ACLU in an attempt to strike down Pennsylvania’s longstanding same-sex “marriage” ban. The lawsuit consists of over 20 plaintiffs, including four homosexual twosomes who were “married” in other states, but are not recognized as a couple in Pennsylvania. It also cites the recent Supreme Court ruling in its assertion that the law is injurious to homosexuals in the Commonwealth, some of whom raise children together.
“It is hereby declared to be the strong and longstanding public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman,” Pennsylvania’s “Marriage Between Persons of the Same Sex” statute outlines. “A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth.”
Similar lawsuits are expected in Virginia, Nevada, Hawaii, Michigan and North Carolina, and federal judge just last week put a halt on Ohio’s constitutional amendment after two homosexuals who traveled to Maryland for their ceremony sued the state for not recognizing their relationship.
Regarding the Kentucky suit, the state attorney general’s office told local station WAVE, “We have not seen the lawsuit. We will review it, but it is generally our policy not to comment on pending litigation.”
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn, nominated by George W. Bush.