Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Gay Marriage Issue Comes to Kentucky

Bobbie Jo Clary is a 37-year-old woman accused of murder in Louisville.  In 2004, she entered a civil union in Vermont with a woman named Geneva Case.  According to the prosecutors, Ms. Case must testify at Ms. Clary's trial because Ms. Case has critical evidence of Ms. Clary's guilt.  But Kentucky law provides that one spouse cannot be forced to testify against another spouse.  (This is a very old provision in both U.S. and English law.  Agatha Christie used it in her famous story (which later became a play and a movie):  "Witness for the Prosecution.")  So Ms. Case is now arguing that she cannot be forced to testify against Ms. Clary -- even though Kentucky does not recognize gay marriage.  Ms. Case argues that because of the recent decision on gay marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court, Kentucky must extend the spousal privilege to gay couples.

To me, this has the makings of an issue that may come all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Even if this particular case doesn't get to the Supremes, it seems clear that the issue it presents will have to be addressed eventually.  You can read about the case here.

1 comment:

  1. Judge says, no, Ms. Case doesn't get out of testifying against a woman charged with murder in Kentucky just because they got married in Vermont.