EQUALITY has spread further across the USA with two states in the country’s south becoming the first to reject explicit bans on marriage equality.

All southern states in the USA, apart from border state Maryland, currently have laws that limit marriage between one man and one woman.

US District Judge John G .Heyburn recently ruled that Kentucky’s ban on same-sex couples marrying and recognising the marriages of same-sex couples married in other states was invalid.

“Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them,” Heyburn wrote in his judgement.

US District Judge Arenda L Wright Allen of Norfolk also made a similar ruling in the state of Virginia this month and was subsequently labelled by conservative family groups as “an emotional outburst by a judge”.

It was the 10th straight decision in favour of marriage equality by a state or a federal judge since a landmark ruling mid-last year by the Supreme Court which found that there could be no valid basis for Congress to prevent states from recognising same-sex marriages.

Similar cases in the south are also moving to trial in federal courts, from Louisiana to Texas to Tennessee.

Moves are also afoot in Colorado after nine couples in the state filed a lawsuit last Wednesday that sought to overturn a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

“Colorado law creates two classes of citizens: those free to marry the person they love, and those denied that fundamental right,” the suit says.

“Same-sex couples in Colorado are relegated to a second-class level of citizenship that denies their relationships the full panoply of rights enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples.”

However, one set back has been in Arizona, whereby its government this week passed a controversial bill that allowed business owners – as long as they asserted their religious beliefs – to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.



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