Jones v. Hallahan,
Nov 9, 1973
Appeal from a judgment of the Jefferson County Court
Court of Appeals of Kentucky
Marjorie Jones and her partner are female appellants who tried to acquire a license to marry; this was denied to them by the Jefferson Circuit Court. As a result, they appeal from this judgment at the Court Appeals.
WON two persons of the same sex can enter marriage.
No, They can not.
Kentucky statutes do not have a definition of marriage. The Court of Apeals turned to common usage of the term and found marriage to be defined the Webster’s New international Dictionary as:
“A state of being married, or being united to a person of persons of the opposite sex as husband and wife ; also, the mutual relation of husband and wife; wedlock; abstractly the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence, for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.”
In the absence of a specific provision in Kentucky statutes that prohibited marriage between persons of the same sex or whether they issue a license for same sex couples who want to get married, the Court of Appeals turned to customs and concluded that marriage has been defined and understood through time as a union between a man and a woman only.
As a result, appellants cannot avail for themselves of a license to marry because the status they are trying to enter is a nullity.
Moreover, the right to marry of two persons of the same sex is not constitutionally guaranteed and cannot be invoked in connection with religious freedom. The latter is concomitant with the constitution being superior to professed doctrines and the prevention a citizen becoming a law unto himself.
The judgment of the Circuit Court is affirmed.
A. Even if the appellants concealed the fact that they were of the same sex and successfully given a license, the resulting relationship (owing to the definition) would not be a marriage.
B. No constitutionality issue because there is no Consti sanction on the right of marriage between persons of the same sex.
C. In essence, the relationship proposed by the appellants doesn’t authorize issuance of marriage license because what they propose is not a marriage.
D. Case of first impression in Kentucky- Baker vs. Nelson dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.
E. Refusal to issue a license not a punishment
F. Court of Appeals not presented with an authority to subvert a permanent union between a man and a woman.