Kentucky Judge Puts Three-Week Hold on Gay Marriage Recognition

Image: Activists celebrate two decisions by the US Supreme Court seen as victories for gay marriage
File photo of activists celebrating two decisions by the US Supreme Court seen as victories for gay marriage.David Poller / Zuma Press, file

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A federal judge has put on hold his own order requiring Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The state had asked for a 90-day stay of the order, but Judge John G. Heyburn II is only putting it on hold until March 20, saying that will give the state enough time to comply.

Heyburn's order means that gay couples who were legally married elsewhere but live in Kentucky will be able change their names on state documents and obtain other benefits of married couples.

A separate lawsuit over whether Kentucky can issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is before the same judge.

A 2004 amendment to the state constitution banned recognition of gay marriage there regardless of where it was performed.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Oregon recognizes gay marriages legally performed elsewhere.

— Pete Williams