Meet the couples in our Kentucky marriage case, Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear:
Paul Campion and Randy Johnson
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.
Almost 25 years ago, Paul and Randy met while Paul was visiting his brother in Louisville, where Randy also lived. Six months later, Paul took a leap of faith and moved down to Louisville to be with Randy and continue their new relationship. Decades later, the couple still resides in Kentucky and is fighting to have their marriage recognized.
Because of Kentucky’s discriminatory marriage laws, Paul and Randy’s four children only have a legal relationship with one of their parents. The family lives in constant fear that if something were to happen to Paul or Randy, the family would be unable to secure the financial and legal protections that their heterosexual counterparts rely on. 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.
Today Paul and Randy are taking their case to the Supreme Court in hopes of bringing equality for relationships and families like theirs to the whole country.
Gregory Bourke and Michael DeLeon
Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon have been together since 1981 and are raising two children. They live in Louisville. The couple was married in 2004 in a ceremony overlooking Niagara Falls but continue to fight for legal recognition in their home state.
Because of Kentucky’s discriminatory marriage law, Greg and Michael’s children each have only one legal parent and only Michael’s name is listed on their children’s birth certificates. Even though they have drawn up medical powers of attorney and other legal documents, they do not enjoy the legal protections and emotional security that comes with marriage and are fighting to end Kentucky’s discriminatory laws so that their family can finally be fully protected.
Of their more than three decade-long relationship, their daughter Bella said, You guys belong together because no one else is going to laugh at your jokes other than yourselves.” Having already built a life of love and laughter, the family just wants to ensure that they have the legal protections in their home state that will give them security as they grow older.
Kim Franklin and Tammy Boyd
Kim Franklin and Tammy Boyd have lived together in a committed relationship for eight years and were married in 2010 in a ceremony on the beach in Connecticut. Though they first met in the 1980’s, it wasn’t until 2007 that they reconnected and began dating.
Kim describes Tammy as her “greatest gift” and recalls their wedding day as the day when all her “dreams were coming true.” Their wedding day, Tammy remembers, “was the most beautiful sunset” and the couple finally had the chance to publicly declare their love together before family and friends.
Even though they have shared a loving bond for nearly a decade, Kim and Tammy are still legal strangers in Kentucky and are fighting to have their marriage recognized in their home state.
Jimmy Meade and Luke Barlowe
Jim Meade and Luke Barlowe have been in a committed, loving relationship for over 46 years. The two met in 1968 at a bar in Louisville while Jim was studying at Morehead State and traveling regularly to Louisville to more gay-friendly spaces. Before long the two men were inseparable and have been ever since. Though work brought them outside of Kentucky, they returned to their home state in 2006 and don’t plan on leaving.
In 2002, Jim was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the couple faced the challenges of navigating a health crisis without the legal security that comes with marriage.
After 41 years together, the couple was married in Iowa in 2009 but because of Kentucky’s discriminatory marriage bans, they remain legal strangers at home. Now they are fighting for the recognition that all married heterosexual couples have in Kentucky and are hoping that their 46-year journey together will include equality under the law for their love and their relationship.
Tim Love and Larry Ysunza
Tim Love and Larry Ysunza of Louisville have been together for 34 years. They traveled to Vermont in 2000 to get a civil union, but have waited to marry until they can do so in their home state of Kentucky.
Having been through health scares and realizing the importance of the legal protections that marriage affords, Tim and Larry are challenging Kentucky’s discriminatory marriage bans.
In the Summer of 2013, Tim was diagnosed with two blockages in his heart and advised by his doctor to go to the hospital immediately. Faced with emergency surgery and no legal protections, Tim and Larry were forced to rush to draw up papers to ensure that Larry would be able to make medical decisions for Tim should he become incapacitated. The paperwork was literally finalized as Tim was heading into surgery. That experience and the reality of future surgeries and unforeseen health needs prompted Larry and Tim to stand up against Kentucky’s discriminatory marriage bans.
Dominique James and Rev. Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard
In the fall of 2004, Dominique James and Maurice Blanchard met each other at a cookout and they have been together ever since. After dating for a year, Maurice proposed to Dominique on a trip to New Orleans. On June 3rd, 2006, the couple was married in a religious ceremony. Knowing they couldn’t be legally married in Kentucky, both men still wanted to be married in the church because of their deep spiritual beliefs.
In 2013, Dominique and Rev. Blanchard sought a marriage license but were denied because of Kentucky’s discriminatory marriage bans. On the day they were denied a marriage license, Rev. Blanchard explained, “We can no longer be silent accomplices to our own discrimination.” They are bringing their fight to the Supreme Court in the hopes that the Court will rule in favor of equality so that they and their fellow gay and lesbian Kentuckians can have the freedom to marry at home.
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