WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A decision by the nation’s highest court Monday turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions is expected to clear the way for the expansion soon of same-sex marriages to Kansas.
Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states — Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal now in 30 states.
Couples in six other states — Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s review.
“Marriage equality is coming to Kansas,” said Thomas Witt, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas. “It may not be this morning, but it may be another morning very soon.”
Since the appeals from Oklahoma and Utah originated within the 10th Circuit, the decision in those cases will affect all states in that circuit, including Kansas, said Doug Bonney, chief counsel and legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.
The ACLU had earlier decided to wait to see what the Supreme Court would do with the cases that came up from the 10th Circuit before challenging the Kansas same-sex marriage ban. Now, the ACLU plans to file a lawsuit in federal court and will likely ask for a preliminary injunction blocking the Kansas law, Bonney said.
“The first thing we need are plaintiffs,” he said. “I don’t think that will be too hard to get.”
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
While the justices stopped short of resolving for now the question of same-sex marriage nationwide, Witt was undeterred about Kansas.
“It is not here quite yet,” Witt said. “But I feel like the kid in the back of the car saying, ‘Are we there yet?'”
Governor Sam Brownback today issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to accept any of the same-sex marriage cases that were pending on writs before it:
“I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas. 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.”
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