Bourke v. Beshear - Stay Granted During Appeal

Earlier this week, the private attorneys hired to appeal the ruling of Judge John Heyburn in the Kentucky marriage equality case of Bourke v. Beshear moved for a stay for the duration of their planned appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

Today, despite "compelling" objection by the Plaintiffs (skillfully argued by my colleague Laura Landenwich), Judge Heyburn granted the request for a stay.

Judge Heyburn's final order in Bourke, requiring the state of Kentucky to recognize valid, same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, was supposed to take effect tomorrow. Unfortunately, as of right now, already married same-sex couples living in Kentucky will have to wait a little longer to be recognized in the same way as married opposite-sex couples from other states. In the words of the order:

Perhaps it is difficult for Plaintiffs to understand how rights won can be delayed. It is a truth that our judicial system can act with stunning quickness, as this Court has; and then sometimes with maddening slowness. One judge may decide a case, but ultimately others have a final say. It is the entire process, however, which gives our judicial system and our judges such high credibility and acceptance. This is the way of our Constitution. It is that belief which ultimately informs the Court's decision to grant a stay. It is best that these momentous changes occur upon full review, rather than risk premature implementation or confusing changes. That does not serve anyone well...

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the stay of this Court's February, 27, 2014 final order is extended until further order of the Sixth Circuit.

Governor Beshear has filed his notice of appeal, but so far that process has no timeline. Related cases in Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio (the other states in the Sixth Circuit) may also be considered at the same time. As of now, nothing is certain.