It has been a week since the Supreme Court heard the cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee on same-sex marriage. We were there with our cases, Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear. The last two years have been eventful.
When we filed this case on July 26, 2013, there is no way for us to have known that this would be one of the cases that would decide for the entire country whether or not valid same-sex marriages would be recognized in states that did not allow them. That was the Bouke case, which ended up with 4 married couples and 6 children as Plaintiffs. On February 12, 2014, Judge Heyburn ruled that the state of Kentucky had to recognize same-sex marriages from outside of the state. So, on February 14, 2014 the Love case was added to the Bourke case. This case asked that our clients, two couples, be allowed to marry in Kentucky, just as they would be able to do in other states.
Judge Heyburn again ruled in our client’s favor and the state of Kentucky appealed those decisions. Judge Heyburn wrote his decisions in such a way that explained the difference between religion and the law in relation to marriage in a way that made it clear he was not telling churches what to do, just the government. In this second decision, he stated that the arguments that Kentucky was making were not the arguments of serious people.
The Kentucky cases, along with cases from the rest of the states in the 6th Circuit, were heard by the 6th Circuit on August 6, 2014. On November 6, 2014, the 6th Circuit ruled in the States favor and allowed the bans on same-sex marriage to remain in effect. The cases were immediately appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States and those arguments were heard on April 28, 2015.
On April 29, 2015, Judge John Heyburn passed away. Judge Heyburn ruled on many cases during this time on the bench, so this one case does not define him or his legacy. However, we are sorry that he did not see the end of this case. All the attorneys and clients wanted to talk to him about his rulings and how he had affected their lives, but were waiting until the Supreme Court ruled, probably in June of this year.
We all believe that the Supreme Court will rule in our clients favor. However, the wording of the ruling will determine how broad or narrow the decision is. Beyond that, everything any attorney could say at this point it just speculation. So, now we just wait.