Judge orders Kentucky to recognize gay marriages

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A federal judge has ordered Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages.

A federal judge on Feb. 27 ordered Kentucky officials to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II issued the order throwing out part of the state's ban on gay marriages. Previously the judge, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, had said the ban on gay marriages treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."

The order doesn't affect a lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Heyburn released the order — a two-page ruling — after Kentucky's attorney general asked for a delay.

What Heyburn's order means is that same-sex couples who married in other states are eligible for the benefits other married couples in the state receive.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's office was expected to issue a statement later on Feb. 27.