News (USA)

Kansas Supreme Court puts off marriage hearing until federal case resolved

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday indefinitely postponed a hearing in a gay-marriage case because of a federal judge’s order in a separate lawsuit barring the state from enforcing its constitutional same-sex marriage ban.

Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka is home to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka is home to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, the ban remains in effect because the judge stayed his decision to allow the state to appeal, which it did.

The Kansas court was to hear arguments in its case Thursday but will now consider whether to defer to the federal courts.

Both cases arose from the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal last month to hear appeals from five other states seeking to preserve gay-marriage bans following adverse lower court rulings. Kansas voters overwhelmingly approved an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution in 2005.

The Kansas Supreme Court case involves an order by Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty of Johnson County District Court, directing marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples.

A lesbian couple received a license and wed, but Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a petition to prevent any more licenses from being issued. The Kansas court blocked further licenses and set its hearing.

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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit for two lesbian couples denied licenses in other counties. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled Tuesday that the state could not enforce its gay-marriage ban under rulings from the federal appeals court for Kansas and five other states. Kansas has asked the same appeals court to review Crabtree’s ruling.

The Kansas Supreme Court followed up Wednesday by directing parties in Schmidt’s case to submit written arguments by Nov. 14 on whether it should continue blocking same-sex marriage licenses and whether it should wait to consider Schmidt’s petition until the federal courts resolve the ACLU lawsuit.

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