On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples and the world has changed forever. Obergefell v. Hodges
Looking back, on June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that no one could be charged with a crime for what consenting adults did in the privacy of their bedrooms. In the Lawrence case, the two Plaintiffs had been arrested for being gay, basically. I was in law school when that case was ruled on and while I knew it was on the books, I could not believe that people were still being arrested for having sex, with another adult, in their own house.
On June 26, 2013 the US Supreme Court ruled that Eddie Windsor’s marriage had to be recognized, for tax purposes. United States v. Windsor. In that ruling, it seemed to say that if they had been asking for marriage equality, it would be approved.
While waiting for the Windsor decision to come down, Dawn Eliot and I had been discussing what the next step would be (for about a month as you never know when the decision will come down). On June 26, 2015, when the ruling came down and we read it, we talked about who should file the case for Kentucky and we decided to file it ourselves. On that date, I talked to Kim Franklin and Tammy Boyd, and they immediately were ready to file.
We did wait 30 days to file, to make sure an appeal wasn’t going to be filed, and during that time, many other cases were filed in other States, but none in Kentucky. One of the ones filed was Obergefell v. Hodges, which became part of our case later.
During that 30 days, other clients came to us, Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon (and their children), Luke Barlowe and Jim Meade, Randy Johnson and Paul Campion (and their children). Due to glitches, Kim and Tammy’s case wasn’t filed first, the Bourke v. Beshear case was filed on July 26, 2015. We later merged the Franklin v. Beshear case with the Bourke case, so that we had one ruling for the State, as they had different judges in different parts of the State. At that point we were only asking for the recognition of marriage.
On February 12, 2014, Judge Heyburn ruled that Kentucky had to recognize same-sex marriages which were performed in other States and countries, and that he hadn’t been asked to allow marriages in Kentucky, at that point.
We had already been planning on filing a case to allow people to get married on February 14, 2014, as that seemed like a good date to do so. We had already talked to Maurice Blanchard and Dominique James about filing then. Once Heyburn’s ruling came out, we, along with other attorneys, decided to add the second case to the first and added Tim Love and Larry Ysunza as clients so the Love v. Beshear case was filed with those two couples on February 14, 2014.
More posts will come later, or you can look back on the former blog posts regarding what happened next, but there are a few things that make the Kentucky case different than the other ones. For one, we have more Plaintiffs than any other state, as the children were also named Plaintiffs, we had 18 clients
on the one case. Also, as we asked for the right to marry and the recognition of marriage, we were the only case to do so that went to the Supreme Court, which means realistically if we had not done so, the cases probably would not have gone to the Supreme Court as quickly as they did.
The landscape of the world has changed drastically since this case was filed in 2013 and there is still a long way to go in order for everyone to have full equality, but it is still a great day in the Country’s, and my personal, history.