The Other Shoe Drops in Kentucky: Federal Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in the Commonwealth

Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, expresses his dismay over a Kentucky judge’s decision to grant full recognition to same-sex marriages legally performed in other states:

As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe.” Those are the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, drawn from his dissent in the case United States v. Windsor, handed down last year. In that case, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that the United States government could not refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. The Court struck down a law passed by massive majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. While the Court did not rule that all fifty states must immediately legalize same-sex marriage, it set the stage for this eventual result. Justice Scalia made that point clear in his dissent.

Now, Justice Scalia’s prophecy has come to pass in Kentucky. Today, U. S. District Judge John G. Heyburn declared that Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states violates the equal protection clause of the U. S. Constitution. Judge Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must now marry same-sex couples, but that the state must grant full recognition to same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. Nevertheless, Judge Heyburn recognized that his decision points to that eventual result, stating that “there is no doubt that Windsor and this Court’s analysis suggest a possible result to that question.” If anything, that is an understatement. As with Justice Kennedy in his majority opinion in Windsor, Judge Heyburn now clearly points to the striking down of any state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage. As Justice Scalia predicted, we did not have to wait long for the other shoe.

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