University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Love v. Beshear PB-KY-0001
Docket / Court 3:13-cv-00750 ( W.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On July 26, 2013, a same-sex couple married under the laws of Ontario filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the governor, attorney general, secretary of state of Kentucky and two county clerks. The plaintiffs challenged the ... read more >
On July 26, 2013, a same-sex couple married under the laws of Ontario filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the governor, attorney general, secretary of state of Kentucky and two county clerks. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of Kentucky's laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying and voiding within Kentucky marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into under the laws of other states or countries.

On August 16, 2013, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding two more same-sex couples married under the laws of other states as plaintiffs in the suit. The plaintiffs asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Amendment 223A of the Kentucky Constitution violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and that the Kentucky statutes KRS 402.045(2) and KRS 402.045(1) violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Additionally, the plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin the State from denying same-sex couples the right to marry in Kentucky and denying recognition of marriages validly entered into under the laws of other states and countries.

The plaintiffs sought summary judgment on December 16, 2013, and on February 12, 2014, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn, II, found for the plaintiffs, concluding that Kentucky's refusal to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states violates the United States Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review. Two weeks later, on February 27, 2014, the Court held that the order would go immediately into effect.

That same day, the defendants filed a motion to stay, which was granted, and appealed to the Sixth Circuit on March 18, 2014.

On July 1, 2014, the Court (Judge John G. Heyburn II) held that that Kentucky laws banning same-sex marriage violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights and did not further any conceivable legitimate government purpose. Love v. Beshear, 2014 WL 2957671 (W.D. Kentucky 2014). The order declared all Kentucky laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were void and unenforceable. In the same order, the Court stayed the decision pending further order in the Sixth Circuit.

On November 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit ruled on this and other cases from four states. DeBoer v. Snyder (PB-MI-0004 in this Clearinghouse). Obergefell v. Hodges (PB-OH-0003 in this Clearinghouse). Henry v. Hodges (PB-OH-0004 in this Clearinghouse). Tanco v. Haslam (PB-TN-0005 in this Clearinghouse). It was unwilling to find a Constitutional basis to deny states' authority to define marriage. On the Due Process and Equal Protection claims raised in this case, the court found that it was bound by Supreme Court precedent in Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971), which it found not overruled by Windsor nor by "doctrinal developments". It found that the bans were plausibly rational, and neither in violation of the Constitution nor due to illegal animus or discrimination. It also held that "[i]f it is constitutional for a State to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, it is also constitutional for the State to stand by that definition with respect to couples married in other States or countries." (DeBoer v. Snyder Page p. 38). Accordingly, the Sixth Circuit upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 772 F.3d 388.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari review of all the 6th Circuit cases on Jan. 16, 2015. Bourke v. Beshear, 135 S. Ct. 1041 (2015). The Court rephrased the questions presented as: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

On June 26, 2015, the Court reversed, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy. The right to marry is fundamental, the Court held, and it demeans gay and lesbian couples to deprive them of access to marriage. The 14th Amendment therefore does not allow states to ban same-sex marriage. Kennedy was joined without further writing by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. Each of the four dissenters--Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito--wrote a dissent.

Carlyn Williams - 10/16/2013
Megan Dolan - 07/08/2014
- 06/26/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Kentucky
Plaintiff Description Three same-sex couples who were Kentucky residents and were married under the laws of Iowa, California and Ontario.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-MI-0004 : DeBoer v. Snyder (E.D. Mich.)
PB-OH-0003 : Obergefell v. Hodges (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0004 : Henry v. Wymyslo (S.D. Ohio)
PB-TN-0005 : Tanco v. Haslam (M.D. Tenn.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Oral Argument in Same Sex Marriage Cases
Oyez.com
Posted: Apr. 28, 2015
By: Oyez
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:13-cv-00750-JGH (W.D. Ky.) 07/01/2014
PB-KY-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 07/26/2013
PB-KY-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 08/16/2013
PB-KY-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 02/12/2014 (W.D. Ky.)
PB-KY-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/12/2014 (W.D. Ky.)
PB-KY-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/27/2014 (W.D. Ky.)
PB-KY-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [awarding attorney's fees] 05/13/2014 (2014 WL 1922928) (W.D. Ky.)
PB-KY-0001-0007 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 07/01/2014 (989 F.Supp.2d 536) (W.D. Ky.)
PB-KY-0001-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion of the Sixth Circuit 11/06/2014 (772 F.3d 388)
PB-KY-0001-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Supreme Court Opinion 06/26/2015 (135 S.Ct. 2584)
PB-KY-0001-0010 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (Third Circuit, SCOTUS)
PB-KY-0001-0010
Cook, Deborah L. (Sixth Circuit)
PB-KY-0001-0009
Daughtrey, Martha Craig (Sixth Circuit)
PB-KY-0001-0009
Heyburn, John Gilpin II (W.D. Ky.)
PB-KY-0001-0003 | PB-KY-0001-0004 | PB-KY-0001-0005 | PB-KY-0001-0006 | PB-KY-0001-0007 | PB-KY-0001-9000
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS)
PB-KY-0001-0010
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
PB-KY-0001-0010
Scalia, Antonin (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
PB-KY-0001-0010
Sutton, Jeffrey S. (Sixth Circuit)
PB-KY-0001-0009
Thomas, Clarence (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
PB-KY-0001-0010
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Canon, Daniel J. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Dunman, Leonard J. IV (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Elliott, Dawn R. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-0001 | PB-KY-0001-0002 | PB-KY-0001-9000
Fauver, Shannon Renee (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-0001 | PB-KY-0001-0002 | PB-KY-0001-9000
Landenwich, Laura E. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Winner, Louis Paz (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barkley, Clay A. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Farah, Licha H. Jr. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
French, Stephanie A. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Judy, Brian (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Cave, Stanton L. (Kentucky)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Kneedler, Jennie L. (District of Columbia)
PB-KY-0001-9000
Lin, Jean (District of Columbia)
PB-KY-0001-9000

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