Updated:
June 26, 2015

Bourke v. Beshear is a federal court challenge to Kentucky's constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples, filed by attorneys at Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and Fauver Law Office on July 26, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The plaintiffs are four same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their out-of-state marriages.

The Supreme Court has consolidated six cases from four states on the issue of marriage equality. Kentucky is the only one that presents both issues: whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license marriages between same-sex couples and whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to recognize same-sex marriages from another state. The ACLU is co-counsel for the plaintiff couples in both Kentucky challenges.

Bourke v. Beshear is a federal court challenge to Kentucky's constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples, filed by attorneys at Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and Fauver Law Office on July 26, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The plaintiffs are four same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their out-of-state marriages.

In February of 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn ruled that Kentucky must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. His decision was stayed pending a decision from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On February 14, 2014, two additional couples filed a motion to intervene in Bourke, challenging Kentucky’s constitutional ban on the freedom to marry in Love v Beshear. Judge Heyburn struck down Kentucky's ban on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples on July 1, 2014. Both cases were appealed to the Sixth Circuit. On November 6, reversing both Bourke and Love, the Sixth Circuit ruled that Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution.

In a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, the Bourke and Love plaintiffs have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn the decision of the Sixth Circuit.

The ACLU is co-counsel in these cases along with the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, and Fauver Law Office.

Status: On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court overturned the 6th Circuit decision, and ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. VICTORY!

View the Amicus Briefs to the Supreme Court for and against the Freedom to Marry

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