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A Jefferson Family Court judge granted Kentucky’s first same-sex divorce. Judge Joseph O’Reilly permitted the divorce of two Louisville women who were legally married in Massachusetts.
While Judge O’Reilly issued this decision on December 29th, 2014, he waited until now to publicize the decision “so that it would become and couldn’t be challenged.”
However, because Judge O’Reilly’s decision cannot be appealed, it is now precedent in Jefferson County and can be cited, but is not controlling other cases statewide.
Current Kentucky state law considers same-sex marriages performed in other states as void. However, Judge O’Reilly stated, “barring same-sex couples to divorce here violates the state constitutional guarantee that all people should be treated as equals.”
Despite Kentucky law considering same-sex marriages as being void, no one who has previously defended the state’s ban on gay marriage intervened to try to prevent the divorce. This includes Governor Steve Beshear.
Although Judge O’Reilly felt urged to rule in either direction, he “squarely ruled hat barring a same-sex couple from divorcing in Kentucky violates the state constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law and the right of citizens to ‘enjoy and defend their lives and liberties.’”
Judge O’Reilly’s ruling comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide whether to hear cases from Kentucky and three other states in which a federal appeals court ruled that there is no constitutional right to gay marriage.
Are you or someone you know considering filing for divorce or legal separation? Are you concerned about issues such as filing for a divorce or legal separation or have post-divorce concerns such as spousal and/or child support, custody, or visitation? With over two decades of experience, the Law Offices of Jay D. Raxenberg has the skill that is required to address the most complex matrimonial and family law issues. Please call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.