Douglass Boulevard Christian Church was the first to take the initiative.
Both churches have stated they will continue to perform religious marriage ceremonies for straight and gay couples but would no longer perform the civil function of signing marriage licenses on behalf of the Commonwealth.
In addition, Jim Daly, the president of the massive religious-right organization Focus on the Family, conceded that his group had basically lost the argument on gay marriage in an interview with a Christian magazine.
This is welcomed news for marriage equality, and applauded by Kentucky Equality Federation and Marriage Equality Kentucky.
Marriage Equality Kentucky is a group funded by Kentucky Equality Federation since 2008 for which Halyn Roth had served as Managing Director.
"Both churches deserve medals for taking such a stand for equality and justice and they will be remembered by history in our struggle for inalienable human rights," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and intersex people (LGBTI) contribute considerably to the Commonwealth's economy yet we are denied equality in every sense of the word; we are denied protection from bullying, discrimination in housing, employment, credit, and accommodations in addition to more than 100 rights the Commonwealth denies us related to marriage."
Because the Commonwealth does not recognize same-sex marriages, these are some of the human rights LGBTI people are denied that many take for granted:
- Accidental death benefit for the surviving spouse of a government employee;
- Appointment as guardian of a minor;
- Beneficial owner status of corporate securities;
- Bill of Rights benefits for victims and witnesses;
- Consent to post-mortem examination;
- Control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property;
- Criminal injuries compensation;
- Death benefit for surviving spouse for government employee;
- Disclosure of vital statistics records;
- Eligibility for housing opportunity allowance program of the Housing, Finance and Development Corporation;
- Exemption from claims of Department of Human Services for social services payments, financial assistance, or burial payments;
- Exemption from conveyance tax;
- Family violence prevention and services;
- Funeral leave for government employees;
- Income tax deductions, credits, rates exemption, and estimates;
- Insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits;
- Legal status with partner’s children;
- Making partner medical decisions;
- Payment of wages to a relative of deceased employee;
- Payment of worker's compensation benefits after death;
- Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation;
- Public assistance from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services;
- Right to change names;
- Right to inherit property;
- Rights and proceedings for involuntary hospitalization and treatment;
- Spousal privilege and confidential marriage communications;
- Tax relief for natural disaster losses;
Palmer continued: "Additionally, we call on all churches in the Commonwealth to follow the lead of the First Unitarian Church, and the Douglass Boulevard Christian Church. Kentucky Equality Federation has a volunteer who has attended the First Unitarian Church for over 4 years."
We will repeal the Commonwealth's 2004 Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships, and civil unions. It is only a question of when; just as gender-neural marriage is illegal in Kentucky, so was gender-neutral voting. As with voting, marriage equality will be made gender neutral.
You do not realize what it is to be treated as a second class citizen until the government treats you like one; the danger in allowing the inalienable human rights of even one person to be violated is that it opens the door to additional government oppression, when the majority denies rights to minorities simply because they are the majority.
We have only a handful of Representatives in the Kentucky House of Representatives who bravely support marriage equality. This shows that our concept of marriage must mature. Marriage is a contract between the State and two loving people, nothing more, nothing less."