ACLU Tells SCOTUS Stay on Kansas Same Sex Marriage Hurts Families
November 11, 2014

(AP) – Civil liberties attorneys are telling the U.S. Supreme Court that delaying gay marriage in Kansas will harm same-sex couples and their families.

The American Civil Liberties Union responded to a request from Kansas to the court to maintain the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Justice Sonia Sotomayor directed the ACLU to respond by Tuesday afternoon.

The state wants to enforce its ban while the federal courts review a lawsuit filed by the ACLU for two lesbian couples.

A federal judge last week ordered the state to stop enforcing its ban as of 5 p.m. CST Tuesday, but Kansas appealed to the nation’s highest court.

Sotomayor on Monday put the judge’s order on hold.

Kansas Same Sex Couple Refused Marriage License Hours After SCOTUS Announcement
October 6, 2014

A same sex couple in Wichita were refused a marriage license Monday, hours after a surprise announcement from the US Supreme Court may clear the way for same sex marriages in Kansas, without notice, the High Court announced it would not take up the cases from Oklahoma and Utah trying to uphold those state’s bans against same sex marriage.
Kansas is in the same federal judicial circuit as those two states. Lower courts in the 10th Circuit have ruled those Oklahoma and Utah bans on same sex marriages unconstitutional
Since Kansas is in the same circuit, its constitutional ban against same sex marriages is affected by the Supreme court Decisions not to hear the cases from the same jurisdiction. The controlling Lowser courts have ruled those same sex bans unconstitutional so means other same sex marriage bans in the 10th circuit are unconstitutional.
Two other federal circuits are affected by the case, the 4th Circuit, which covers the mid-Atlantic states of the South . The other is the 7th Circuit of the Upper Midwest.
Missouri is not affected because is it part of the another judicial circuit, the 8th.
A Wichita couple, Kerry Wilks and donna DeTrani asked for a marriage license at the Sedgwick County Courthouse Monday afternoon.
Wilks says Sedgwick County judge James Fleetwood refused to issue one to them.
Wilks says the judge respectfully told them he was waiting for a “mandate” from the Court, according to Wilks.
The Kansas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union believes the decision in Washington is profound.
“I think the writing is on the wall,” says Doug Bonney of the ACLU, “ same sex marriage is here.”
Bonney says the ACLU is now looking for a same sex couple to act as plaintiffs for a test case.
In Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster announced, in light of the Supreme Court move, the state would not appeal a same sex ruling last week from a Kansas City judge.
The judge ruled Missouri, which also bans same sex marriages within the state, must recognize legally married same sex couples who’s marriages were performed in states where they are legal.

Koster to Defend Missouri Against KC same Sex Lawsuit
August 8, 2014

(AP)–A federal judge will hear a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s ban on gay marriage after state Attorney General Chris Koster intervened in the case and moved it out of state court.
The switch could put the Missouri case on a more direct route through the federal appellate courts at a time when U.S. judges have been increasingly striking down other states’ gay-marriage bans.

“We wanted at least one of the cases (from Missouri) to be considered in a court of broader jurisdiction,” Koster spokesman Eric Slusher said Thursday.

At issue is a lawsuit attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed earlier this summer in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced earlier that the County would not spend money defending the County against the lawsuit.

Although the state was not named as a defendant, Koster’s office intervened because the lawsuit alleges Missouri’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage violates equal-protection and due-process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Because of the alleged federal violations, Koster’s office moved the case to U.S. District Court, where it has been assigned to Judge Ortrie Smith.

Koster, a Democrat who is running for governor in 2016, has said he personally supports gay marriage but will carry out his official duties by defending Missouri’s ban. His office filed federal court documents earlier this week, arguing Missouri’s prohibition should be upheld because states have a right to set their own rational constraints on domestic relations until the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise.

Kobach & ACLU. back In Court Over Voter Rights
July 11, 2014

(AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach are heading to court again in their battle over Kobach’s attempts to enforce a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters.

The ACLU hoped a Shawnee County judge would use Friday’s hearing to review its request for a temporary injunction to keep Kobach from imposing a new policy for the state’s Aug. 5 primary elections.

Kobach has said that Kansas residents who register with a national form will be allowed to complete full ballots, but only their votes in congressional races will be counted.

The national registration form does not require voters to submit documentation of their U.S. citizenship. The state’s registration form does.

ACLU Sues Kansas, Says Kobach Creating “Two-Tiered” Voting System
November 22, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the state of Kansas and Secretary of State Kris Kobach Thursday over what the ACLU called “separate and unequal” classes of voters, violating the state constitution’s guarantee for equal protection.
The issue centers around the way Secretary of State Kobach is registering voters in Kansas.
Kansas requires voters who register to provide proof of US citizenship.
The US Supreme ruled this summer voters not not have prove documents that prove they are citizens when they register. they are, however, required to swear under oath the are legal citizens or risk perjury penalties.
Kobach and the state are registering some voters who sign up at motor vehicle offices–are not using the state form–to be registered only for federal elections, not state contests.
The ACLU says that creates an illegal two-tiered voting system.
“It makes absolutely no sense that someone would be qualified to vote for president, but not for governor,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a news release.
Kobach called the lawsuit a surprise, not because he didn’t expect an ACLU challenge, but because he says he, too, does not want the split voting system.
“They’re filing to stop the very thing I want to stop as well, which is a two-tiered voting system,” Kobach told the website POLITICO. “The suit incorrectly states that Kansas is implementing the system based on memos sent out to counties to make contingency plans for it.”
The ACLU has been threatening to sue Kansas over the issue for some time.
Kobach says the two-tiered system will only be put into place if Kansas and Arizona loses its lawsuit over the clash between the state and federal forms.
According to the latest estimates about almost 18,000 Kansans have their voting rights suspended while the dispute is is being worked through.
Many of those suspended voters may live in the state’s largest counties. Those are Johnson and Wyandotte counties in suburban Kansas City and Sedgwick County, which contains the city of Wichita.