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Federal judge delays gay marriage ruling implementation for three weeks

Luke Meade-Barlowe (left) and Jimmy Barlowe-Meade Luke Meade-Barlowe (left) and Jimmy Barlowe-Meade

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Same sex couples who want to have their marriage recognized in Kentucky will have to wait. Late Friday afternoon, a federal judge ruled on a request for a delay from Kentucky's attorney general.

Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn issued a final ruling that said that it was unconstitutional for Kentucky to refuse to recognize same sex marriages from other states. Today, Heyburn sided with the state saying that it's fair to ask for time to make sure all state agencies are on the same page and the law can be implemented consistently across the Bluegrass.

Heyburn noted that the Kentucky Attorney General's office has not said it will appeal the ruling itself, but that it just wanted more time.

According to the ruling, clerks of court around the Commonwealth will now be forced to grant requests for name changes and other legal benefits of marriage on March 20.

Kentucky's gay marriage ban was put in place by voters in 2004. Heyburn has not yet ruled on whether the state must allow gay marriages to take place in Kentucky, although he could be asked to make that determination too in the near future.

The ruling means gay couples who rushed to courthouses across the state today to have their marriages recognized will have to wait a little longer. Luke Meade-Barlowe and his partner Jimmy Barlowe-Meade are not the couple that shouts their love from the rooftops. 

"We've been, Jim and I have been together for 45 years and we've kind of kept quiet, you know, that's what you do in society these days," Luke said. 

They took the leap and got married in Iowa. Now they want their Kentucky drivers license to reflect their union. Luke and Jimmy walked into the Nelson County courthouse to get the small change that signifies so much. 

"We decided we want to do this for the people coming behind us," Luke said. 

They found out that while times may be changing, for now, the Kentucky Division of Drivers Licensing is not. 

"The order is still appealable so as of right now, Kentucky is still going with their same policy on drivers license ... That we cannot issue," said an employee. 

For now, Luke and Jimmy will have to be known in Kentucky officially by their given names. They hope it won't stay that way forever. 

"I'm disappointed," Luke said. "Like I said, we've been waiting 45 years, we thought now was the time for it to happen. I'm 72 years old. I was hoping we'd see this before I died."

The judge noted in his ruling that the attorney general's office did not say that it would appeal the ruling recognizing same-sex marriages.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

 

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