KANSAS: Still A Confusing Mess

Via the Associated Press:

The Kansas Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for additional gay marriages in the state’s most populous county while declaring that it would defer to the federal courts on whether Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional. The Kansas court also declined to say whether all of the state’s 105 counties fall under a U.S. Supreme Court order last week blocking the state from enforcing laws and a provision in its constitution against gay marriage. The nation’s highest court acted in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over the denial of marriage licenses to lesbian couples in two counties.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision, gay couples have obtained marriage licenses and wed in at least a few counties, but not in those where the chief state district court judges were blocking them. In Kansas, district court clerks issue marriage licenses after a mandatory three-day wait. The inconsistency appeared likely to continue. State Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement that the Kansas court’s decision leaves it to the federal courts and local state judges to decide whether marriage licenses are issued to same-sex couples. “Because a provision in the Kansas Constitution is at peril, the state of Kansas will continue its defense in federal court as long as a defense is properly available,” Schmidt said.

On its Facebook page, Equality Kansas has listed the 19 counties that are issuing same-sex marriage licenses. They add:

If you do NOT live in one of those counties, you may still go to any one of them and apply for a marriage license. After three days, you can go back to the originating courthouse, pick up your license, and get married ANYWHERE in Kansas. Your signed license must be filed in the courthouse that issued it. We will still have difficulty getting state and local government agencies to recognize our marriages, whether performed in Kansas or out of state. It is likely that litigation will continue for months, perhaps well into next year, before we fully enjoy marriage equality in Kansas. We’re making great progress, however, and must keep fighting!