Judge: Kentucky Must Recognize Gay Marriages
Court rules state's ban unconstitutional
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2014 1:30 PM CST
Michael De Leon, left, and Gregory Bourke filed suit Friday, July 26, 2013 challenging Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage. Bourke and De Leon, both of Louisville, Ky., were married in Canada in 2004.   (AP Photo/Brett Barrouquere)

(Newser) – Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, a federal judge ruled today, striking down a 2004 amendment to Kentucky's constitution. "It is clear that Kentucky's laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them," Judge John Heyburn said, citing the Supreme Court's landmark decision against the Defense of Marriage Act as precedent, according to the Courier-Journal.

The ruling doesn't actually require Kentucky to allow marriages between same-sex couples within its borders, only to recognize such unions performed elsewhere; the plaintiffs in the case were married in Canada, WFPL explains. The judge rejected Kentucky's sole argument, which was that it was legitimate for the state to protect its "institution of traditional marriage," by saying that tradition was not a valid reason to violate individual liberties, noting that courts have established in interracial marriage cases that tradition is insufficient justification for denying individual liberties. It's the 10th state or federal ruling against such bans.