Looks like Kansas Republicans are going to fight until the end over stopping same-sex marriage, which they can't legally stop for much longer.
On Wednesday, a judge in Johnson County, which borders Kansas City and is the state’s most populous county, ordered court clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Kansas bans same-sex marriage by state law and its state constitution, a position expected to be overturned following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday.
The high court decided not to review a U.S. appeals court decision striking down bans in Oklahoma and Utah, which are in the same U.S. appeals court circuit as Kansas, meaning the state is bound by that court’s rulings.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said the attorney general’s petition would ensure an orderly process and avoid confusion created by inconsistent judicial rulings.
“An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman,” Brownback said in a statement. “Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas.”
Johnson County has announced that it would issue marriage licenses and Shawnee County is accepting applications for license while awaiting court action before issuing licenses.
The ACLU of Kansas plans to file a federal lawsuit early next week challenging the ban on same-sex marriage, Doug Bonney, its chief counsel and legal director, said on Friday.
And I expect in short order that the ACLU's lawsuit will swiftly result in Kansas having same-sex marriage recognized the way North Carolina did on Friday when a judge overturned the ban in that state.
A federal judge in North Carolina struck down the state's same sex marriage ban Friday, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately.
U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., in Asheville issued a ruling shortly after 5 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.
Cogburn's ruling follows Monday's announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that it would not hear any appeal of a July ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond striking down Virginia's ban. That court has jurisdiction over North Carolina.
"North Carolina's laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law," wrote Cogburn, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama. "The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue."
But it's okay. Sam Brownback most likely won't be governor of Kansas for much longer.