LOUISVILLE, KY, August 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – A Kentucky woman whose same-sex lover stands accused of capital murder has refused to testify in the trial, citing spousal privilege, even though Kentucky does not recognize gay ‘marriages’ and the two are only joined in a civil union granted in Vermont.
The woman’s attorneys say the complicated case could ultimately lead to a court-ordered reversal of Kentucky’s marriage amendment, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Geneva Case, 49, has been called as a witness in the murder trial of her 37-year-old lover, Bobbie Jo Clary. Clary stands accused of bludgeoning 64-year-old George Murphy to death with a hammer before stealing his van. Prosecutors called Case as a witness because they say Clary confessed the murder to her, and because she saw the blood inside the victim's van after the killing.
Case has refused to take the stand, arguing that spousal privilege, which legally prevents spouses from being forced to testify against one another, should apply in this case. Case entered a civil union with Clary in Vermont in 2004, before the state legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2009.
But the state of Kentucky neither allows nor recognizes homosexual “marriage” or civil unions. The state’s constitution defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
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"Kentucky's marital privilege law does not give Ms. Case the right not to testify in a murder trial," said Stacy Greive, assistant commonwealth attorney for Jefferson County. "And the reason marital privilege does not apply to Ms. Case in her relationship with the defendant is because it is our opinion and our belief that they do not have a marriage that is recognized under Kentucky law."
Greive pointed out that even by Vermont’s more liberal standards, the couple does not have a legally valid marriage. "They have a civil union,” she said. “If you look at Vermont's statutes, they distinguish between civil unions and marriage.”
But Clary's attorney, Angela Elleman, and Case's attorney, Bryan Gatewood, both told Reuters they believe Kentucky’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. Both are hopeful this case will result in it being permanently struck down.
Citing June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act – a similar federal law – which forced the U.S. government to recognize gay “marriages” performed in states where they are legal, Elleman said “the climate is right" for the Kentucky amendment to be overturned.
"I believe the handwriting is already on the wall," Gatewood added.
The court is expected to rule on the spousal privilege issue before Clary’s trial begins August 30. She is currently being held on $75,000 bail.