LEXINGTON, Ky. — A new University of Kentucky initiative will honor the late U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn, who was best known for overturning Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The Heyburn Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary, introduced in a ceremony Monday, will consist of a new archives collection, a series of federal judicial conferences and a lecture series, according to media outlet reports.
The initiative involves the UK College of Law and UK Libraries.
Among those in attendance Monday was U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who called Heyburn a “dear friend.”
“John was kind, he was thoughtful, he was principled — and the Heyburn Initiative will remind us that these virtues count both on the bench and in life,” McConnell said.
McConnell recommended that President George H.W. Bush appoint Heyburn to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in 1992. He served as chief judge in the Western District from 2001 to 2008.
In 2014, Heyburn struck down parts of a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment that limited marriage to “one man and one woman,” saying it violated the 14th Amendment.
Heyburn died of cancer in 2015.