Let freedom ring: Gay marriage is legal in Kentucky, pending appeal.
Let freedom ring: Gay marriage is legal in Indiana

Post updated with additional information.

The United States Supreme Court today declined to review the appeals of five cases in which same-sex marriage bans were deemed unconstitutional, meaning such marriages are now legal in Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and right across the river from us in Indiana.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is still reviewing the Kentucky same sex marriage cases, along with those of Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, and is expected to make its decision this week.

If the court upholds Judge Heyburn’s ruling that Kentucky’s ban is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court decides against reviewing like they did today, this would likely mean same-sex marriage would be legal in Kentucky. If the 6th overturns Heyburn’s decision and upholds Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban — along with the other three states — most would expect the Supreme Court would take on this case upon appeal and make a landmark decision on the constitutionality of gay marriage bans across the country.

We’ll fill you in with more information as it develops.

***** UPDATE *****

Joe Dunman, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Kentucky cases, confirmed to Insider Louisville that our assessment above on which way the Kentucky cases could go is accurate.

“That seems to be the indication here,” says Dunman. “(The Supreme Court is) waiting for an actual circuit split before they take it on. And that also indicates to me that they’re going to reverse whatever court upholds the ban. Because if they’re willing to let the decisions below stand without reversing them, then it kind of indicates where they’re going to go on this issue.”

Also, we can confirm that same sex couples in Indiana can now officially go forth to their local courthouse and formally join into the institution of marriage, free from discrimination, as Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller just said they will lift the stay on the ruling striking down the gay marriage ban. Go Hoosiers!

***** UPDATE #2 *****

Here’s the statement from Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign:

“This is a massive victory for LGBT people across the United States, but also across the Ohio River for our neighbors in Indiana and even here in Kentucky,” shared Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman. “This means that many committed Kentucky couples will now have less of an economic burden to wed, traveling across the river to Indiana rather than being forced to make the much longer journey to Illinois, our next nearest state with LGBT marriage equality.”

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]