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Judge: Kentucky must recognize other states' same-sex marriages

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Kentucky same sex marriageA federal judge ruled Wednesday that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, striking down part of the state's ban on gay marriage. The ruling was just one of a series of gay rights issues coming before courts Wednesday in several states across the South.

A gay rights group planned a legal challenge to the Louisiana Constitution's prohibition against recognizing same-sex marriages performed legally in other states, and there were similar lawsuits in Texas and Mississippi.

In a 23-page a ruling, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II concluded that Kentucky's laws treat gays and lesbians differently in a "way that demeans them." A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004, and the out-of-state clause was part of it.

Heyburn’s decision came as a result of lawsuits brought by four gay and lesbian couples seeking to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages.

Heyburn did not rule on whether the state could be forced to perform same-sex marriages, because it was not a part of the lawsuit.

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