WASHINGTON — A federal judge put a hold on Kentucky’s recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages granted out of state until the state’s governor can appeal the trial court ruling.
Although U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn ruled that Gov. Steve Beshear “has not made a strong showing of a likelihood of success on the merits” of that appeal, Heyburn acknowledged “one must admit that ultimate resolution of these issues is unknown” because no appellate courts have yet ruled on the marriage recognition question. Heyburn previously issued a stay of his ruling in the case through March 20.
Heyburn based his decision to grant the state’s stay “until further order of the Sixth Circuit” on Wednesday because “the Supreme Court has sent a strong message by its unusual intervention and order [halting Utah same-sex couples’ marriages] in that case.”
He concluded, “It is best that these momentous changes occur upon full review, rather than risk premature implementation or confusing changes. That does not serve anyone well.”
Beshear’s lawyers filed a notice Tuesday that he was appealing the ruling to the 6th Circuit.