- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Here is the latest on gay marriage in Kansas. (All times local.)

4 p.m.

It appears the Kansas attorney general’s office is happy that tomorrow is the start of the weekend in the wake of two major court decisions issued Friday.

First, the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that gay couples have a right to marry anywhere in the country in a ruling that does not bode well for the state’s arguments in a similar case now playing out in federal court over the Kansas same-sex marriage ban.

Then hours later, a district court panel in Kansas declared that key parts of a new state law for funding public schools violate the state constitution.

Attorney General Derick Schmidt has issued a statement saying his office is reviewing the two opinions internally and with its various clients to assess next steps.

His statement adds, “Fortunately, tomorrow starts a weekend, and the courts should be done at least for this week issuing decisions.”

1:45 p.m.

Some of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the Kansas ban on same sex marriages say it is time for the governor and state attorney general to stop pushing their “private agendas.”

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state in October on behalf of Kerry Wilks, her partner Donna DiTrani and others. Wilks says that today they are celebrating and tomorrow they will go back to work. She notes it is still legal in the state to fire somebody for getting married.

DiTrani says it is important to her that people recognize Wilks as her wife, and not just as her partner.

Jackie Carter, the pastor at First Metropolitan Community Church in Wichita, says the U.S. Supreme Court decision is about more than the one event of marriage. She says it means there is a ruling about people being more equal, and she likens it to the civil rights movement as they move forward.


1:05 p.m.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage will require legislators to examine state laws protecting religious freedom.

The Wichita Republican said Friday that legislators need to make sure that Kansas residents who personally oppose gay marriage are not required to perform same-sex weddings or participate in them.

Lawmakers considered such a measure last year, but it drew strong protests from gay rights advocates and some business leaders and stalled in the Senate.

Supporters of last year’s measure said it would have protected individuals and businesses that oppose gay marriage. But critics said the measure was written so broadly that it would have allowed widespread discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Wagle said she’s disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision.


10:20 a.m.

A leading gay rights advocate in Kansas is calling on the state to drop its defense of its ban on gay marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision saying same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the country.

Equality Kansas Executive Director Tom Witt said Friday that he’s hoping Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in his words, “do the right thing.”

An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the state’s gay marriage ban is still pending in federal court, and ACLU attorney Doug Bonney said it could be resolved more quickly if the state would “admit defeat.”

Both Brownback and Schmidt said the state will study the ruling further before making any moves.

Witt said he’s happy about the ruling.


10:10 a.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States is expected to also spur a swift final ruling in an ongoing case over the Kansas gay marriage ban.

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing the Kansas couples said Friday the U.S. Supreme Court ruling “means that we win” in the ongoing case in Kansas. The Kansas attorney general’s office said it is reviewing that decision and consulting with its clients.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree had previously already issued a preliminary ruling that gay couples could marry in Kansas, but not all counties have been issuing them. He ruled in November that the state couldn’t enforce the ban while the lawsuit was heard.

Crabtree could rule at any time on motions now before him seeking a summary ruling that permanently bars the state from enforcing laws and a voter-approved provision in its constitution banning same-sex marriage.


10:05 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is decrying the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling declaring that gay couples have a right to marry anywhere in the country.

The Republican governor issued a statement Friday. He has been a strong supporter of the state’s ban on gay marriage. Voters approved an amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 2005 to reinforce that policy.

But the state’s ban is being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed last year, and preliminary rulings allowed counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Most now do.

Brownback said in his statement, “Activist courts should not overrule the people of this state, who have clearly supported the Kansas Constitution’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

He said the state would review the ruling further.



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