A federal judge has ordered Kentucky to begin legally recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, even as the state asked for a stay on the ruling.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn issued a final ruling determining Kentucky's marriage amendment violates the right to equal protection under law, meaning the state must immediately consider valid same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions were they are legal.
Attorney General Jack Conway and Gov. Steve Beshear, both Democrats, filed a motion asking Heyburn to stay his motion, but the judge did not address it in his final ruling.
Conway's office cited the importance of the issue in its request for a stay, asking Heyburn for 90 days to decide whether to appeal. Beshear also needs time to decide how the state will implement the order.
While Conway has said he is bound by law to uphold the Kentucky amendment barring same-sex marriages, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gave cover this week to his state counterparts who refuse to defend such bans because they believe them to be unconstitutional.