Congregations of 18 Kentucky churches consider refusing to sign marriage licenses

The congregations of 18 churches in the state are considering whether to take a stand to have ministers refuse to sign marriage licenses as a protest of Kentucky's refusal to allow same-sex marriage.

Two Louisville churches — First Unitarian Church and Douglass Boulevard Christian Church — already have said their ministers will stop signing marriage licenses. Both churches will continue to perform religious marriage ceremonies for straight and gay couples.

Jordan Palmer, president of the Kentucky Equality Federation, a non-profit advocacy group, said Thursday the organization and its subsidiary, Marriage Equality Kentucky, are working with other churches to see whether they will join the protest. Two of those churches are in Lexington, one is in Berea, one is in London and two are in Richmond.

"To us, it's an inalienable human right," Palmer said. "Marriage is a contract between two loving people in the commonwealth; nothing more, nothing less."

Palmer said he would not name the churches considering joining his group until they had made a decision.

Palmer's organization said Kentucky's 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships and civil unions deprives same-sex couples of the right to make partner medical decisions, the right to inherit property, the ability to obtain legal status with a partner's children and many other rights.