WICHITA, Kan. – Supporters of same-sex marriage in Kansas say they are one step closer to having the ability to marry in their home state, after a ruling that more than likely could end up in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is another huge step forward for equality for LGBT Kansans and Americans who want to be able to marry their partners,” Thomas Witt, executive director for Equality Kansas, said.
The ruling by the 10th Circuit Court in Denver upheld a judge’s ruling in Utah, striking down that state’s same-sex marriage ban. It is binding in 6 states, including Kansas. But the circuit court put an immediate stay on the decision, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.
“Does the decision of the court necessarily say those law enforcement officials must issue licenses? No, because the 10th Circuit stayed its decision,” legal analyst Dan Monnat said.
In light of the ruling, a county clerk’s office in Boulder, Colorado started issuing licenses to same sex couples. Here in Kansas, officials say a similar result is unlikely, since it is district court employees who issue a license to wed, not elected officials that have the authority to make those decisions.
“They are employees of the districts where they work, so if they’re not being told they can do that, they’re not going to be able to,” Witt said.
The Utah attorney general says it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, which could once again be in the middle of a same-sex marriage debate.
“Whether or not the United States Supreme Court reviews this is a discretionary matter,” Monnat said.
The Utah AG has 90 days to respond to the circuit court ruling an appeal to the Supreme Court. From there, it could be another year or two if the court decides to take on the issue.
KSNW TV – By Felix Rodrigues Lima