Kentucky lawmakers are reacting to a federal ruling Wednesday that struck down a portion of the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II concluded that Kentucky's laws ban on recognizing valid same-sex unions performed in other states violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.
In a largely religious appeal, Fayette Rep. Stan Lee called on lawmakers Wednesday to pressure Gov. Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway to appeal the ruling.
"The people in this state in 2004 went to the polls and overwhelming voted that they wanted marriage to be recognized as between one man and one woman, an institution that was instituted by the Lord God Almighty himself. And now we have a ruling that breaks my heart, that is diametrically opposed to word of God," Lee told the House.
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian later applauded the judge’s opinion.
"All of us know gays and lesbians. They may be brothers and sisters, cousins, friends. And they do not deserve the hatred and discrimination that has been rained down upon them in this state and in this country," Marzian argued.
Gov. Beshear told reporters Wednesday his administration is reviewing the ruling, but stopped short of speculating on whether the state might appeal. He said he doesn't believe the opinion will disrupt the General Assembly session.
"Ultimately it will be decided by the United States Supreme Court and so it really, I don't think, lends itself to legislation at this point. It's more of a court situation," Beshear said.
Nine other federal and state courts have invalidated same-sex marriage bans in other states.