The U.S. Supreme's Court ruling Wednesday striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not impact Kentucky laws regarding the definition of marriage. Kentucky voters in 2004 approved an amendment to the state constitution defining a marriage as being between one man and one woman.
WKU constitutional law scholar Patty Minter said the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA concerns those in same-sex marriages being able to receive the same federal benefits as those in heterosexual marriages.
"It does not affect the definition of marriage in Kentucky, and it does not require the state of Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples," said Minter. "It also has no impact on civil unions anywhere in the 50 states."
Dr. Minter said those wanting same-sex marriage in Kentucky would likely have to get a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the 2004 state amendment, or hope for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation.
"Or you would need another case at the U.S. Supreme Court--one that rendered all of those state marriage amendments to be moot," said Minter. "They would also be rendered moot if you passed a federal amendment to the Constitution that mandated that marriage rights could not be abridged based on status."