Same-Sex Marriage: Bourke v Beshear
President Clinton’s first official action in 1993 was to allow known homosexuals to serve in the military. Discussions
of same sex marriage followed this, and have been on-going for years. The legality of these came to the court of
highest decision, the Supreme Court, in 2014 and a decision was rendered by the Court in late June, 2015.
On June 17, 2015, the founder of the Robert H. Jackson Center, in Jamestown, NY interviewed two of the plaintiffs in
the case Bourke v. Beshear. These defendants were from Kentucky and had been legally married in California before
returning to Louisville to live a few years prior. On doing this, they found that many rights that they had achieved in
California were no longer valid in Kentucky. So they, with others, sued the State of Kentucky. This suit rose to the
Supreme Court where the court found in a 5-to-4 decision for the plaintiffs, the lead of whom was Bourke, against the
governor of Kentucky. Bourke and his partner had been married in Ontario, Canada in 2004 and had raised children in
Kentucky where they were not legally married.This granted the Bourke family all of the rights of lawfully married
There were six Kentucky families that were litigants in the case. One was the family of Paul Campion and Randy Johnson (pictured, at the Supreme Court
building, photo from Berea College magazine). Campion was from Jamestown and was interviewed at the Jackson Center on return to the community to visit
family. This pre-decision interview was instructive at many levels, so I decided to post it on my web site. I am chair of the board of directors at the Robert H.
Jackson Center, and was in attendance on June 17.
The interview was preceded by a short lecture on the Supreme Court and marriage given by John Q. Barrett, Lenna Fellow at the Center. For those engaged in
discussions about the issues addressed by the court, we think these excellent presentations will serve as useful points for discussion.
D. C. Neckers, Chair: Board of Directors, Robert H. Jackson Center ©