LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, striking down part of the state ban.

In 23-page a ruling issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II concluded that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbians differently in a “way that demeans them.” The constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004. The out-of-state clause was part of it.

The decision came in lawsuits brought by four gay and lesbian couples seeking to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages.

Heyburn did not rule on whether the state could be forced to perform same-sex marriages.

The question was not included in the lawsuit.


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