Segregated Gay Marriage License Form for Kentucky Couples

separate marriage licenses for same-sex couples like segregated water fountains

Step right up for your Kentucky gay marriage license! Oh, but use this form made just for your kind. It’s for your benefit! Really…

separate marriage licenses for same-sex couples like segregated water fountains

Same-sex couples applying for their marriage licenses in Kentucky may now be ostracized with a “separate but equal” “gay marriage” license application made specifically for them. The reason they have to use another water fountain form? The Republicans feel it’s offensive to “traditional couples” to not see “bride and groom” on their marriage applications. The Associated Press has more:

[T]he Republican controlled Senate amended the bill as a way to show their support for traditional marriage. Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear changed the marriage license form last summer once same-sex marriages became legal, removing “bride” and “groom” and replacing it with “first party” and “second party.”

“Quite frankly, it’s almost disrespectful to the traditional family,” said Republican state Sen. John Schickel of Union. “That’s’ why, wisely, we decided to have two forms. That has nothing to do with bigotry, nothing to do with discrimination. It has to do with the vast majority of Kentuckians that respect traditional marriage.”

Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Louisville tried to amend the bill to create one form, where a person would have the option to check “bride,” ”groom” or “spouse” beside their name. He said having one form would be cheaper and more efficient, and it would treat everyone fairly. It failed.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit against Davis, said in a news release the Senate was “setting a dangerous slippery slope precedent by catering to one specific religious belief and privileging that over others.”

“Separate forms for gay and lesbian Kentuckians constitute unequal treatment under the law,” said Michael Aldridge, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. “Pure and simple, this bill is motivated by the desire to accommodate discrimination against same-sex couples.”

Republican Sen. Stephen West, the sponsor of the bill and whose district includes Rowan County, said gay couples could choose to use the “bride” and “groom” form if they wished.

Two Republicans voted against the bill_Julie Raque Adams of Louisville and Wil Schroder of Wilder— citing their wish to have one form. But others, including Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville, said creating two marriage licenses is taking the state “down a path that has already been paved in this commonwealth that has a tendency to reinforce bigotry.”

“Separate has never been equal,” he said.

The bill now heads to the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, where Speaker Greg Stumbo has said the House is likely to pass its own version.

Photo courtesy: National Archives

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