Federal Judge Says Kentucky Must Recognize Gay Marriage

1 minute read

A federal judge in Kentucky issued a final ruling that struck down parts of the state’s 2004 ban on gay marriage and requires the state to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II signed the order Thursday, the Associated Press reports, making official his Feb. 12 ruling that said the state’s ban on gay marriages treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

The order does not require Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to gay couples—the subject of a related lawsuit. However, same-sex couples in Kentucky can now change their names on official documents and receive other benefits enjoyed by married couples.

Earlier Thursday, Kentucky’s attorney general asked the judge for a 90-day stay so his office can consider whether to appeal and for the state to prepare to implement the ruling. Heyburn’s order does not mention the delay request.


More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Noah Rayman at noah.rayman@time.com