Gay Baptist minister sues for right to wed
A Kentucky Baptist minister and gay-rights activist filed a lawsuit Feb. 14 claiming the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard — who with his partner, Dominique James, was fined 1 cent for trespassing in November for refusing to leave a county clerk’s office after being told they could not apply for a marriage license — asked U.S. District Judge John Heyburn to build on his finding two days earlier that Kentucky must recognize same-sex unions performed legally in other states.
Blanchard leads the True Colors Ministry, founded in 2011 at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., as an outreach ministry to members of the LGBTQ community.
He and James and another couple denied marriage licenses by the county clerk in Louisville claim denying them rights available to others violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that no citizen can be denied equal protection under the law.
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky refused, and continued to refuse, to issue a marriage license to the Blanchard plaintiffs solely because they are a same-sex couple,” the lawsuit claims. By preventing same-sex couples from getting married, it says, state law “deprives them of numerous legal protections that are available to opposite-sex couples in Kentucky by virtue of their marriages.”
Judge Heyburn ruled Feb. 12 that the state’s ban on recognizing same-sex unions performed elsewhere violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by treating gays and lesbians “differently in a way that demeans them.”
“Many Kentuckians believe in ‘traditional marriage,’” Heyburn said in the ruling. “Many believe what their ministers and scriptures tell them: that a marriage is a sacrament instituted between God and a man and a woman for society’s benefit. They may be confused — even angry — when a decision such as this one seems to call into question that view. These concerns are understandable and deserve an answer.” TRUNews