LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Same-sex couples from Kentucky are among the plaintiffs who will appear before a three judge panel Wednesday during the largest number of same-sex marriage cases heard to date.
The six arguments coming from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee will be heard in Cincinnati by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. If the judges find in favor of gay marriage, the Supreme Court will likely be forced to get involved.
On the eve of the major decision a Kentucky plaintiff was among those attending a pro-gay marriage rally in Cincinnati.
Greg Bourke and his partner have been together for 32 years. Fifteen years ago they adopted two children and the couple married in Canada in 2004, but their marriage has never been recognized in their home state of Kentucky.
"What really motivated us to file was our children, for our children's sake and for our family," Bourke said, "Same sex couples aren't allowed to co-adopt so our situation is that my husband is the adoptive parent and I'm relegated to be a legal guardian which is ridiculous because we've been together for 32 years."
Joining Bourke as plaintiffs are Kentuckians Timothy Love and his partner Larry Ysunza and the Reverend Maurice Blanchard and his partner Dominique James. All were denied marriage licenses in the Commonwealth.
U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn first ruled Kentucky must recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. He later ruled Kentucky's ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. Governor Steve Beshear is appealing. Both rulings are stayed pending the 6th Circuit decision.
The plaintiffs and the attorneys won't be alone in the courtroom.
"Our goal, quite frankly, is maintaining the position of marriage as one man and one woman," said Charles Tassell, with Citizens for Community Values. Tassell will be present during the arguments and says no matter what happens, he expects appeals from the losing side.
"This will go to the Supreme Court so if anything were to happen," Tassell said, "I would expect the stay to be in place immediately."
People on both sides of the issue are expected to rally outside the courthouse on Wednesday.
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