Cincinnati appeals court hearing gay marriage cases - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cincinnati appeals court hearing gay marriage cases

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A federal appeals court in Cincinnati is hearing two cases that could determine the future of same-sex marriages in Kentucky.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing the cases as part of a series of hearings on similar lawsuits across four states today. The proceedings have drawn a number of activists from surrounding states, including a 61-year-old Michigan man who says he wants to show that gay couples share the same values as heterosexual ones. He says he camped out overnight outside the courthouse to secure a courtroom seat for oral arguments over bans on same-sex marriage in his home state and three others.

Frank Colasonti Jr. of Birmingham, Michigan, obtained a courtroom spectator ticket Wednesday morning nearly six hours before the scheduled afternoon start of arguments before a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Colasonti says he and his partner of 26 years married this year.

He was among a handful of people at the courthouse before it opened. Hundreds on both sides of the issue are expected for rallies and prayers vigils during the arguments.

Kentucky's cases stem from rulings earlier this year by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn in Louisville that the state's ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages and the state's prohibition on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause because it treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them." Heyburn stopped implementation of the rulings pending appeal.

A three-judge panel will also hear arguments on similar rulings from Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

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