Kentucky is the latest state to lose its argument for banning same-sex nuptials in federal court. On Tuesday, Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that the Bluegrass State’s marriage law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. He joins more than a dozen other federal judges across the country who have come to the same conclusion.
Just six days after wins for marriage equality in Utah and Indiana, Kentucky has joined the club.
Heyburn, a H.W. Bush appointee, concluded, "Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree."
The federal judge did, however, issue a stay, leaving existing state law in place while the appeals process continues, so same-sex couples are not yet eligible to get legally married in the Bluegrass State.
As for the larger context, if it seems like there have been a lot of these rulings lately, all reaching the same conclusion, it’s not your imagination.
Today's ruling follows two wins last week in Utah and Indiana. Those rulings came two weeks after a big win in Wisconsin, which came two weeks after a separate federal court struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality – a court ruling that will not be appealed.
The ruling in the Keystone State came just one day after a similar ruling in Oregon.
Which came just a week after a federal court struck down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Which came just a week after a court ruled against Arkansas’ anti-gay constitutional amendment.
This came a month after a federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The month before that, a federal judge struck down Michigan’s ban on marriage equality.
Civil-rights proponents have scored related victories in Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas, just over the last half-year or so.
For the right, that’s quite a losing streak. Indeed, as we discussed recently, how many cases have anti-gay forces won on the merits since the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling? Zero.
Following up on our conversations after one of the recent rulings, what’s especially heartening for proponents of civil rights and equality is how routine success is becoming. It wasn’t long ago that these cases were nerve wracking – a gut-wrenching test of whether basic human decency would prevail – with countless families afraid to hope for fear of bitter disappointment.
Now, every case seems to end with the same celebratory result: watching the arc of history bend closer to justice.
This msnbc map looks more and more encouraging all the time.