Will Ky. Force Woman to Testify Against Partner in Murder Trial?

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2013 8:29 PM ET

A judge will decide if a Kentucky lesbian couple joined in a 2004 civil union in Vermont will be granted spousal privilege when one of the women faces trial for murder.

Bobbie Jo Clary, 37, is accused of beating George Murphy to death with a hammer two years ago. Clary says she was defending herself from Murphy, who sexually assaulted her. Kentucky prosecutors want Clary's partner, 49-year-old Geneva Case, to testify against Clary. Prosecutors contend Clary confessed to Case and the latter woman viewed incriminating evidence. Clary could face the death penalty if convicted.

While Kentucky doesn't force opposite-sex married couples to testify against their spouses, they are pushing for Case to take the stand, saying her civil union is not recognized by Kentucky law. If that wasn't egregious enough, Kentucky allows common-law couples, both from the state and outside of it, immunity from testifying against their partners.

The 2004 Kentucky law that outlawed any recognition of same-sex relationships is unconstitutional, Clary's attorney claims. A judge will decide later this month on Case's spousal privilege in the murder trial, which begins August 30.

Read more here.