LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A federal judge has signed an order directing officials in Kentucky to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II on Thursday issued a final order throwing out part of the state's ban on gay marriages. The order makes official his Feb. 12 ruling that Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."
The order means same-sex couples may change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of a married couple in Kentucky. The order doesn't affect a related lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Kentucky's attorney general has asked for a delay, which hasn't been ruled upon.
The decision in the socially conservative state comes against the backdrop of similar rulings or actions in other states where same-sex couples have long fought for the right to marry. Kentucky's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004 and included the out-of-state clause.