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Kentucky Ordered To Recognize Same-Sex Couples Marriages

The state has requested a stay of the order. [Update, Feb. 28: The judge issued a stay, putting the order on hold, until March 20.]

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WASHINGTON — U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn ordered Kentucky officials to recognize same-sex couples' marriages performed out of state, an order that followed his Feb. 12 opinion in the case.

Kentucky's Constitution and laws that ban recognition of such marriages, Heyburn wrote, "violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and they are void and unenforceable."

Although state officials earlier Thursday sought a stay of his order pending any appeal, none was issued in Heyburn's order, though a response could follow.

Additionally, Heyburn on Thursday granted a request to allow additional couples seeking full marriage rights — as opposed to recognition of marriages conducted elsewhere — to intervene in the case.

Heyburn set a schedule for the briefing on that issue Thursday as well:

Read the state's request for a stay of the order:

Update: Read the court's stay ruling:

Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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