Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriage in Kentucky Declared Unconstitutional.

The other shoe has fallen in a pair of court challenges from Louisville seeking to overturn Kentucky’s statute and constitutional amendment that prohibit same sex marriages or the recognition of the same as unconstitutional. The case began as Bourke v. Beshear demanding that Kentucky government and businesses apply law and regulation pertaining to marriage equally to legally married couples regardless of gender-mix. Judge John G. Heyburn, II found no fault with the Plaintiffs’ claim and ruled that Kentucky law’s on recognition of otherwise legal same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. Kentucky’s Attorney General Jack Conway agreed and declined to appeal Judge Heyburn’s opinion which was ultimately stayed pending appeal and review by higher courts.

Seeking to rip out both vine and root, and ignoring the advice of other advocates who argued that the time was too soon to take on the basic issue of the prohibition of same-sex marriage in Kentucky proper, additional plaintiffs jointed the Bourke case which appropriately is now renamed Love v. Beshear. On July 1, 2014, Judge Heyburn found that Kentucky’s prohibition of in-state same sex marriages is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause. That order was also stayed pending expected review by the Federal Sixth Circuit Court of appeals in Cincinnati this August.

The finding.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT to the extent Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 402.005 and .020(1)(d) and Section 233A of the Kentucky Constitution deny same-sex couples the right to marry in Kentucky, they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and they are void and unenforceable. Continue reading “Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriage in Kentucky Declared Unconstitutional.”

Catholic Health Initiatives Reports Increasing Financial Losses in Kentucky.

Last Thursday, Chris Otts of WDRB News may have been the first to report on Catholic Health Initiatives’ (CHI) most recent quarterly report to its creditors covering the 90 days ending March 31, 2014. Meant to be read in conjunction with last November’s audited annual report, the current unaudited update covers the first full year that CHI has controlled “substantially all of UMCs operations” at University of Louisville Hospital (ULH). The news report focused on the fact that KentuckyOne Health, the manager of CHI’s multiple hospital-related operations in Kentucky, had lost an additional $134 million on its “faith-based” hospital operations over that 90-day period. This stunning loss comes on the heels of an earlier report that KentuckyOne had lost $100 million in the six months ending December 31, 2013.

More than just financial data is provided.
The full report is in the public domain. My reading confirmed what was reported by others. However, I was struck more by other tidbits of information that confirm or add to our knowledge of what is happening behind the surgical drapes hung to to keep the rest of us from assessing the health of this hospital system of which a public asset is part. Continue reading “Catholic Health Initiatives Reports Increasing Financial Losses in Kentucky.”

New Documents Appearing In Kentucky Same-Sex Marriage Case.

Kentucky’s Appeal of Recognition of Legal Same Sex Marriage Decision.

Humans Merely Breeding Stock?  Say it isn’t so!

National and local media are reporting on the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s appeal of the February decision of District Court Judge John G Heyburn, II requiring the Commonwealth to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states. The commentary available to me so far highlights a Commonwealth position that Kentucky has a legitimate interest in encouraging procreation to support long-term economic stability through stable birth rates. While that may be true of hog-breeding, I find the concept that the licensing of marriage for people of any sex be leashed to economic development to be outrageously offensive. I hope that a full reading of the brief will show that a misunderstanding of the text of the Appeal has occurred. After all, the appeal has our Governor’s name on it.

I have not yet read the brief in detail. The Courier-Journal gives a link to a site where the document can be read on-line, but I found a careful reading from the site to be difficult and it required me to give personal information to download the document. For my benefit and yours, I downloaded the 39 page brief from the Federal Court’s own website, along with the first of what is likely to be many Amicus briefs for or against. When I get an chance, I will comment more fully. Please feel free to do the same in the reply section below.

In the meantime, gay and lesbian healthcare workers in Kentucky are still being discriminated against at University Hospital at the same time we expect such employees not to discriminate against their patients!

[Addendum:  I had a chance to read through the appeal in its entirety.  Alas, a misunderstanding is not possible. The concept of humans as breeding stock is offered as the “legitimate state interest” that allows Kentucky to treat one group of citizens differently than another and therefore not to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. There is more, but “natural procreation” is the core of it.  If I can muster the stomach for it, I will outline the arguments later.]

What I fail to grasp, and what is not addressed in Kentucky’s appeal, is how refusing to recognize legal out-of-state marriages is going to increase the number of child worker-bees and improve the economy as argued. When our Kentucky legislators wrote these laws, did they actually believe that if denied the privileges of marriage, that same-sex Kentucky partners would otherwise dutifully engage in “natural procreation” with members of the opposite sex? Many children arise from same-sex marriages. Are we meant to assume that because “unnatural” artificial or surrogate methods are also often used in support of conception by same-sex partners, that their non-adopted children don’t count?  After a lot of blather about state’s rights and judicial activism, the appeal claims that the State’s action is “rationally based and free from invidious discrimination.” We’ve heard that argument before.  I don’t buy it for a moment. We know it for what it is. I am ashamed for Kentucky.

Peter Hasselbacher, MD
President, KHPI
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UofL
May 9, 2014

Case 14-5291 Document #21: Appeal of Judge Heyburn’s decision.

Case 14-5291 Document #26: Motion to file Amicus Brief from North Carolina Values Coalition and Liberty, Life, and Law Foundation

Judge Heyburn Grants Further Stay of His Order Pending Resolution in Higher Courts.

Legal same-sex marriages in Kentucky will not be recognized on March 21st after all.

Breaking News, March 19, 5:40 pm

Late today, Federal District Judge John G. Heyburn issued an Order further staying his Order of Feb. 27 which found that Kentucky’s statutes and constitution prohibiting recognition of legal same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. To allow the Commonwealth to prepare for practical administrative changes, he had already extended his Order until March 20th.

Observing that Judge Heyburn’s opinion “got it right,” Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway declined to appeal the Judge’s decision. Subsequently, Governor Steve Beshear retained outside council to make such an appeal, and it was that to which Judge Heyburn was responding today.

Judge Heyburn found merit on both sides of the argument. You can read the four-page argument here and decide yourself where the greater merit lies. Ultimately, and recognizing that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals may take years before the appeals process is completed, the Judge decided to further stay his opinion. The Judge recognized how his decision would affect the married-couple plaintiffs.

“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 with sometimes 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.”

I have no doubt about the ultimate resolution of this issue. History will render its own judgements upon those who stand either in favor or in opposition to same-sex marriage. I already have.

Peter Hasselbacher
March 19, 2014