The Kansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for more same-sex marriages in Johnson County, but says it will defer to the U.S. Supreme Court on whether Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.
The Kansas Supreme Court lifted its hold on licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County yesterday.
Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty had authorized the licenses last month after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases from three federal appeals courts that had overturned same-sex marriage bans.
Judges in at least four Kansas counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples a day after the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling allowing them to wed. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports that by noon Thursday nearly a dozen couples picked up marriage applications at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday indefinitely postponed a hearing in a same-sex marriage case because of a federal judge's order in a separate lawsuit barring the state from enforcing its constitutional same-sex marriage ban.
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.
A Kansas House Democrat has drafted a new proposal to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Kansas City Representative Louis Ruiz presented his proposal Tuesday during a meeting of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. The panel agreed to sponsor it.
Such proposals have failed to pass several times in recent years.
The group Equality Kansas lists expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and the transgendered people against bias in employment, housing and public accommodations is a key goal.
Legislators are also reopening debate on whether the state should give special legal protections for people, groups, and businesses who oppose gay marriage for religious reasons.
A Senate panel will take testimony on Thursday from legal scholars on whether existing state laws protect gay-marriage opponents from being fined or sued for refusing to provide goods or services for same-sex weddings.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing follows the House's passage of what supporters called a "religious freedom" bill.
Gay-rights supporters are rallying at the Kansas Statehouse at 1pm on Tuesday to protest anti-gay marriage legislation that critics contend would encourage discrimination.
Rally organizers include: the group Equality Kansas, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
They oppose a bill that prohibits government fines and anti-discrimination lawsuits when people, groups, businesses cite their religious beliefs for refusing goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to gay and lesbian couples.