The U.S. Supreme Court granted review of a federal appeals court ruling that upheld bans in four states on the freedom to marry and recognition of marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. The Court granted review of petitions from all four states – Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The announcement on January 16, 2015 sets the stage for final resolution of the debate about marriage equality for same-sex couples nationwide.
“The ACLU is pleased that the Supreme Court is deciding this issue — it’s time,” said Jennifer Meinig, Executive Director of the ACLU of West Virginia. “Shared American values of freedom and equality should be applied to all of our country’s citizens. The Court will be able to provide a national solution that treats lesbian and gay couples fairly.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic are co-counsel in the two Kentucky cases, Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear, brought by lawyers at Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and the Fauver Law Office. These cases challenge Kentucky’s anti-marriage laws on the ground that they violate due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU along with Lambda Legal and Gerhardstein & Branch are also co-counsel in the Ohio case, Obergefell, et al v. Hodges.
The plaintiff couples in the two lawsuits are denied the freedom to marry the person they love, and denied recognition of valid marriages entered into in other jurisdictions. From the birth of children to the death of beloved partners, same-sex couples in Kentucky are unable to enjoy the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of married life that their different-sex counterparts in Kentucky take for granted.
Paul Campion and Randy Johnson met in the summer of 1991 and have been together ever since. They live in Louisville and are raising four children together. When Paul was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 46, the family not only had to navigate the stress of his illness but was also faced with a host of legal questions about whether and how Randy would be recognized by medical providers during Paul’s treatment.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled November 6, 2014 to uphold four bans in Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky on the freedom to marry and the recognition of marriages between same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions. It is the only federal circuit court after the Supreme Court’s watershed 2013 Windsor ruling to uphold such bans.
More information about the cases is available at: