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US: Massive day for marriage equality push

Thu 7 Aug 2014 In: International News View at Wayback

An American court has heard challenges to same-sex marriage bans from four different states, in one landmark sitting. The judges at the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will now decide whether to uphold rulings by various federal judges in lower courts who ruled that the marriage bans in Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio are unconstitutional. Their rulings are not expected for a few more weeks. Among the plaintiffs are Kentucky couple Tim Love and Larry Ysunza, who got involved in the fight when Love’s doctor discovered two major blockages in his heart. They had to rush paperwork to make sure Ysunza was made his medical power of attorney – something which was finalised just minutes before Love went into surgery. "You just don't think about things like that - and why should you have to?" Love says. "We had a civil union from 2007 in Vermont, but that wasn't respected in Kentucky. You shouldn't have to draw up all of this extra paperwork - especially at such a stressful time. Other married couples don't even have to think twice about that issue - they know that their husband or wife can make those decisions for them." The pair met and fell in love in Kentucky 34 years ago, and have built a life together in the state. It's where they want to marry. "We're really lucky to be one of the couples representing all of the same-sex couples in the state of Kentucky," Love says. "We're just thrilled to be a part of it." Since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, same-sex marriage campaigners have won more than 20 victories in federal courts. Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director Marc Solomon is hopeful that will continue. “After hearing the powerful stories of families from across the heartland, these judges should now understand clearly why the denial of marriage is both unjust and unconstitutional,” he says. “This panel of judges should do what 36 other courts have done to date and strike down these marriage bans.” Utah and Oklahoma are currently appealing federal appeals court rulings in favour of marriage equality. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states, and in Washington DC.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 7th August 2014 - 12:12pm

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