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Kentucky Couples to Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriage Case


The Kentucky couples challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their case, an attorney for the plaintiffs said on Friday.

The  decision comes the day after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnatiupheld bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. The Sixth Circuit's 2-1 opinion differs from recent decisions in other circuits that same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

"We hope to do that quickly, and we think that there is a very good chance given the fact that the court has indicated that they are waiting for a split in the circuit," said Laura Landenwich, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Kentucky case.

"Well, now they have their split. We are anxious for our case to be the one that brings marriage equality to the rest of the country."

Landenwich, speaking after a rally in downtown Louisville protesting the appeals court's decision, said the plaintiffs are hopeful the cases can be heard during the Supreme Court's 2014 term, but the decision of when (or if) the cases are heard will be up the the justices.

Landenwich said the reasons cited in Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton's opinion are unsound.

"I think that they are unsound constitutionally. I think the Supreme Court will find that his reasoning is not in step with where the country is going and not in step with the individual rights protected by the constitution," she said.

She also said that the decision is a sad day for the plaintiffs who are in "loving, committed relationships."

The plaintiffs also had the option of asking the appeals panel to review its opinion or requesting the full Sixth Circuit to consider the case.

The Sixth Circuit's opinion follows District Judge John Heyburn's opinion earlier this year that Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside counsel to pursue the case after Attorney General Jack Conway declined to pursue the case following Heyburn's opinion.

In a statement Thursday, Beshear urgedthe Supreme Court to take up the same-sex marriage issue so that states can have a "clear direction" on the issue.

Kim Franklin, 48, and Tammy Boyd, 47, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They traveled to Connecticut in 2010 to get married. They live in Shelby County.

In several states—including Indiana—same-sex marriage bans have been struck down by appeals courts and couples have either been married or had their marriages from other states recognized.

Franklin and Boyd said although they had to travel elsewhere to get married, moving to another state that would recognize their marriage is not an option.

"This is our state. We were born in this state. We're going to die in this state. And we're going to die with marriage equality in this state," Franklin said.

Boyd said they live just like everyone else, so they should have the same rights.

The couple said they believe that same-sex marriage will be legal in Kentucky someday, and the appeals court's opinion didn't deflate them.

"Marriage equality and marriage in general and what we're fighting for  is the equal rights that everyone is due—gay, straight, doesn't matter—those rights are afforded under the constitution and they're being denied us and that's what it's about. It's about loving couples being denied the same rights as everyone else because they're gay," Franklin said.