Kansas High Court Clears Same Sex Marriage Applications for Johnson County
November 18, 2014

(AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for additional gay marriages in the state.

The court on Tuesday evening lifted its hold on marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County. The justices last month blocked such licenses while reviewing a petition from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

But the Kansas court did not address whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional. It said it wouldn’t consider the issue until the federal courts resolve a lawsuit filed month on behalf of two lesbian couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week told the state it couldn’t continue enforcing its gay-marriage ban while the ACLU’s lawsuit makes its way through the federal courts.

Since then, gay couples have been getting married in some, but not all Kansas counties.

Kansas Supremes Hear JoCo Same Sex Case in Private
November 17, 2014

The Kansas Supreme Court met in private Monday to consider whether or not Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty overstepped his authority in a same sex marriage case.
Kansas Attorney general Derek Schmidt’s office argues Moriarty had no authority to issue an order permitting Johnson County officials to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Schmidt’s office moved immediately to block Moriarty’s order and only a few marriage license applications were ever issued to Johnson County same-sex couples.
Marriages are being issued, however to same sex couples in Douglas and Sedgwick continues because those counties are involved in a separate samesex case at the federal level.
Moriarty made the order in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling striking down the constitutional bans on same sex marriage in Oklahoma and Utah. The 10th Federal Circuit did not strike down the Kansas constitutional ban, although the laws are similar.
University of Kansas Law Profession Rick Levy said the fact that the Justices did not hear oral arguments in the Johnson County case is not unusual.
“The main take-away may be the Justices don’t think they need oral arguments to decide the case. But that would imply they don’t think the case is especially difficult, either,” Levy told KMBC TV .
Levy also believes that the ruling from the Kansas justices will be quick, perhaps by the end of the week.
Levy, who’s expertise is constitutional law, says it is possible the Kansas High Court uses the Johnson County case to expand marriage rights for same sex couples to all 105 counties in Kansas.
“If that’s true for the counties other than Johnson–If that’s true for the counties other than Douglas and Segwick, the it’s true for Johnson County. Ad if it’s true for Johnson County, it could be true for all the counties in the state,” Levy said.

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 Supreme Court Stops JoCo’s Same Sex Marriage Licenses, ACLU Files Suit, JoCo Lesbian Couple Marries
October 10, 2014

(AP) — Hours after Kansas’ most populous county issued a same-sex marriage license to a couple who quickly wed, the state Supreme Court on Friday blocked the granting of any more such licenses.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a ban on gay marriage in the Kansas Constitution.

Kansas voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional ban in 2005, but the state appears to face an uphill legal battle in preserving it following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to hear appeals from five other states seeking to save theirs.

That development led Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty to direct other judges and court clerks in Johnson County to approve marriage licenses for gay couples. The court clerk’s office granted what’s believed to be the first — and only — such license Friday morning. Hours later, Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a petition with Kansas’ highest court, asking it to immediately block the issuance of other licenses.

The state Supreme Court cited federal court rulings against gay marriage bans in its brief order but blocked Moriarty’s order in Johnson County, “in the interest of establishing statewide consistency.” It set a hearing for Nov. 6 and said it would consider whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

The Johnson County newlyweds, Kelli and Angela, asked to be identified only by their first names to help protect their privacy, but did agree to allow a photograph of them after the ceremony to be used. In a statement released through the gay-rights group Equality Kansas, they said they wanted to celebrate privately.

Wedding plans for gay couples across Kansas were in limbo, with nearly all of the state’s 105 counties refusing to issue marriage licenses. In Riley County in northeast Kansas, a couple whose application for a marriage license was accepted Thursday learned Friday that a judge had denied it.

Controversial Same- Sex Marriage Bill Dead, According to Kansas Senator
February 19, 2014

(AP) – The chairman of the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee says the panel won’t consider a House-passed bill to protect people who refuse for religious reasons to provide goods and services to gay couples.

Sen. Jeff King said Tuesday the legislation is dead.

The bill bars government sanctions or anti-discrimination lawsuits against individuals, groups and businesses that cite religious beliefs in refusing to provide goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to gay couples.

Supporters said the bill would protect Kansans from being forced to participate in gay weddings if the federal courts struck down the state’s ban on same-sex unions. The House passed it last week.

Senate leaders said the bill couldn’t pass their chamber amid criticism that it was discriminatory.

King said his panel still will have hearings on religious liberty issues.