Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kentucky May Face Ballot Initiative to Legalize Marriage Equality

This press release was issued today from the Kentucky Equality Federation.

Kentucky Equality Federation applauds legislation pre-filed by Representative Mary Lou Marzian (BR 93) to place the issue of same-sex marriage or civil unions back in the hands of Kentucky citizens.

Earlier this year, Kentucky Equality Federation and Marriage Equality Kentucky began collecting signatures to present to lawmakers to repeal the law by giving voters another opportunity to vote on the issue. The "Marriage Declaration," started in July 2009.

Currently, the Commonwealth will not recognize any type of same-sex union. Marriage, domestic partnerships, and civil unions are all illegal in Kentucky (even if performed in other countries or states).

"We are very pleased with Representative Marzain's pre-filed bill," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "Currently, same-sex couples are basically 'second-class' citizens even though we pay the same taxes as everyone else; same-sex couples currently have absolutely no rights whatsoever and the Kentucky Constitution doesn't mention having a lower class of people. If this passes both the Kentucky House and Senate and voters ratify it, lawmakers would then be able to legislate domestic-partnerships, or civil unions, such as the new domestic partnership law in the state of Washington."

Legislation was also filed this year to repeal Michigan’s Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Palmer continued, "We could certainly reach a compromise with domestic partnerships or civil unions. Being able to file joint income-tax returns, having hospital visitation rights, making medical decisions for your partner, spousal privilege, the right to inherit property, and many other benefits are the very foundation of any union. Same-sex couples are not asking for special treatment, we simple want to be treated equal; we love, honor, and cherish our partners the same as heterosexual couples."

"I realize some will turn this into a religious debate, but we have separate of church and state; the Kentucky Constitution clearly states 'absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority,' and that is exactly what Section 223A of the Constitution has done. The Constitution also states 'the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching.'"

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