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Same-sex marriage in Kansas

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Same-sex marriage in Kansas has been legal since November 12, 2014, when the United States Supreme Court denied the state's request for a stay pending appeal of ruling in the case Marie v. Moser.

The rulings of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that found Oklahoma's and Utah's bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional became binding precedent on federal courts in Kansas on October 6, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in those cases. On October 8, a judge in northeast Kansas ordered his county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and on October 10 the state's highest court, at the request of the state Attorney General, issued a temporary injunction to stop the practice while allowing same-sex couples to file applications for marriage licenses.

A U.S. district court ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on November 4, 2014, and that ruling took effect on November 12 when the state exhausted its options in seeking a temporary stay of that ruling.

Same-sex marriage Edit

Bans Edit

On April 4, 1996, the Kansas State Senate voted 39–1 in favor of a bill banning same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriage performed outside of state. The Kansas House of Representatives also passed the bill. On April 11, 1996, Governor Bill Graves signed the bill into law.[1]

On January 20, 2005, the Kansas State Senate voted 28–11 in favor of Kansas Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and the "rights or incidents of marriage". On February 2, 2005, the Kansas House of Representatives voted 86-37 in favor of the amendment. On April 5, 2005, Kansas voters approved of the amendment.[2][3][4]

Lawsuits Edit

Nelson v. Kansas Department of RevenueEdit

On December 30, 2013, private lawyers in Topeka filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of two same-sex couples (Roberta and Julia Woodrick of Lawrence and Michael Nelson and Charles Dedmon of Alma) seeking respect for their out-of-state marriage licenses in Kansas for the purpose of filing their taxes as a married couple.[5]

The lawsuit is Nelson v. Kansas Department of Revenue and stems from the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling striking down the core of the DOMA and the implementation of the ruling by the federal government, which declared that under IRS rules, all legally married couples should file their federal taxes as a married couple. The attorneys in Nelson argue that Kansas' Department of Revenue - and a constitutional amendment in Kansas that restricts marriage to different-sex couples - forbids the couples from filing their state taxes honestly. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the Revenue Department to allow the couples to file joint income tax returns as married. Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, said the state regulations unfairly treated same-sex couples differently.[6]

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Edit

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two cases from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 6, 2014. That left the decisions in those cases from Utah and Oklahoma, which found their bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, as binding precedent on courts in Kansas. Legal experts expect Kansas to be required to allow same-sex marriage before long.[7] On October 8, Chief District Judge Kevin Moriarty of the state district court for Johnson County, the most populous in the state, directed the court's clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[8] A statement from Governor Sam Brownback said: "An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas." The state Attorney General Derek Schmidt said he was prepared for litigation and noted that the state's ban on same-sex marriage had not been invalidated in court.[9] On October 10, one same-sex couple married at the Johnson County Courthouse and Schmidt asked the Kansas Supreme Court to order Moriarty to stop issuing the licenses.[10] Later that day, the court issued a temporary stay "[i]n the interest of establishing statewide consistency" on the question of issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but allowed for the continued acceptance of applications for marriage licenses.[11]

One same-sex couple married in Kansas in the week following the Supreme Court's action. A lesbian couple applied for a marriage license on October 7, a day when most county clerks were waiting for instructions, and submitted it to their district court the next day. Following the state's 3-day waiting period, they received their license on October 10 and held their wedding service before the injunction was issued a few hours later.[12]

Marie v. MoserEdit

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from decisions of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in cases that had found similar restrictions on same-sex marriage in Utah and Oklahoma unconstitutional. With those decisions in Latta v. Otter and Sevcik v. Sandoval as binding precedent on courts on Alaska, the ACLU filed a lawsuit, Marie v. Moser, in U.S. district court on October 10 on behalf of two lesbian couples who had been refused marriage licenses since the Supreme Court's action. The suit named as defendants Robert Moser, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and two district court clerks.[13]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. kansas-senate marriage ban
  2. Kansas gay marriage ban goes to committee
  3. Kansas House Puts Measure On Gay Marriage On Ballot
  4. Kansas voters approve gay marriage ban
  5. Litigation in Kansas. Freedom to Marry (December 30, 2013). Retrieved on June 29, 2014.
  6. Same-sex married couples file lawsuit against state over tax treatment. . LJWorld.com (December 31, 2013). Retrieved on June 29, 2014.
  7. Helling, Dave (October 6, 2014). Court ruling makes same-sex marriages more likely in Kansas, perhaps Missouri. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved on October 8, 2014.
  8. "Johnson County chief judge gives green light to gay marriage in Kansas", Lawrence Journal-World, October 8, 2014. Retrieved on October 8, 2014. 
  9. "Same-sex couples now can legally marry in Johnson County", Kansas City Star, October 9, 2014. Retrieved on October 9, 2014. 
  10. "Kansas A.G. Derek Schmidt seeks to block same-sex marriage licenses after first couple wed in in Johnson County", Kansas City Star, October 10, 2014. Retrieved on October 10, 2014. 
  11. Johnson, Chris. "Kansas AG seeks to halt same-sex marriages in his state", Washington Blade, October 10, 2014. Retrieved on October 10, 2014. 
  12. Esselink, Jean Ann. "Only One Lesbian Couple Managed To Marry During The Brief Time Same-Sex Marriages Were Legal In Kansas", October 20, 2014. Retrieved on October 23, 2014. 
  13. Complaint, October 10, 2014. U.S. District Court for Kansas. Retrieved on October 13, 2014.


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