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December 3, 2004

Suit says Kentucky marriage amendment cant cover two issues

Frankfort, Ky.--Three plaintiffs filed suit against the Kentucky marriage amendment on November 16, arguing that the language is vague and covers multiple issues.

Kentucky is one of 13 states in which voters approved constitutional amendments barring recognition of same-sex marriage this year. Eight of those amendments, including Ohio�s, also contain language blocking civil unions, domestic partnerships and other non-marital relationships.

In Louisiana and Georgia, suits were already filed challenging their amendments on the grounds that they covered more than one subject, in violation of state law. Kentucky�s law is similar, and opponents of the amendment said that people who opposed marriage but were in favor of some form of benefits for same-sex couples could not separate the two issues in their voting.

�This amendment did not allow voters to vote on the two proposals separately,� said John Davis, interim executive director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance. �That violates the constitutional provisions about how amendments are to be put on the ballot.�

�There were voters in Kentucky that clearly want some kind of arrangement for gay couples, and they were not given the ability to vote on that piece of it,� he continued.

The plaintiffs in the case, which names the state as defendant, are Charlotte Wood and Rev. Albert M. Pennybacker of Lexington and Frankfort�s Willie Thomas Boddie Jr.

�In going door to door,� said Wood, a board member of KFA, �it was clear that a sizable number of Kentuckians would have voted for the first part of the amendment but not the other, if given a chance. People should have had the right to vote on the two proposals separately.�

�Proponents of the amendment can�t have it both ways,� said University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcosson. �They suggested throughout the campaign that marriage is a special and sanctified institution that must be protected. But if marriage is unique, then laws that relate both to it and to something else must be dealing with different subject matters.�


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