The news: A federal district judge absolutely demolished arguments made in favor of Kentucky's ban on gay marriage on Tuesday, declaring the law unconstitutional and calling the state's defense of the ban unworthy of "serious people."
Kentucky literally defended its same-sex marriage ban by pointing out that gay people can't naturally have babies. The state's conservative lawyers argued a 1967 court case legalizing interracial marriage was different because mixed-race couples are fertile. Because marriage benefits cost the state treasury money but only straight couples' children offset that cost by growing Kentucky's workforce and economy, warned the state, extending those benefits to infertile gay couples would be unfair. Of course, they didn't cite any actual data.
U.S. district judge John Heyburn wrote in his decision that "These arguments are not those of serious people. Though it seems almost unnecessary to explain, here are the reasons why."
"Even assuming the state has a legitimate interest in promoting procreation, the court fails to see, and defendant never explains, how the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage has any effect whatsoever on procreation among heterosexual spouses. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage does not change the number of heterosexual couples who choose to get married, the number who choose to have children, or the number of children they have."
"The state's attempts to connect the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage to its interest in economic stability and in 'ensuring humanity’s continued existence' are at best illogical and even bewildering … The court can think of no other conceivable legitimate reason for Kentucky’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage."
"[A]s this Court has respectfully explained, in America even sincere and long-held religious views do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted."
Heyburn also noted that every federal appeals court to have considered a same-sex marriage ban has found it unconstitutional. That's what they call a "mega burn" in legalese.
Family Foundation of Kentucky policy analyst Martin Cothran angrily claimed that Judge Heyburn had "has declared martial law on marriage policy" in Kentucky, saying that "By taking another important area of policy out of the hands of voters, liberal judges have struck another blow against the separation of powers that is an underlying principle of our form of government."
Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson countered that "It is wrong for the government to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love; a freedom that is part of every American's liberty and pursuit of happiness."
Judge Heyburn's decision strikes down Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban, but the state is planning to appeal. The U.S. 6th Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments on the ruling as well as others from Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee in a single session on Aug. 6. Every case is unique, but each deals with the constitutionality of a same-sex marriage ban.