Archive for Wednesday, June 26, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage could affect Kansas

June 26, 2013, 11:19 a.m. Updated June 26, 2013, 8:30 p.m.


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Supporters of gay rights in Kansas celebrated two major U.S. Supreme Court decisions released Wednesday, saying the rulings have opened the door to overturning the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," said Stephanie Mott, of the Kansas Equality Coalition, at a rally that drew about 50 people outside the Statehouse.

"There is reason to believe that in our lifetime, we will be able to marry the person that we love, even in Kansas," she said.

But the author of that state constitutional amendment, U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, vowed to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defines marriage "as the union of one man and one woman."

Huelskamp blasted the Supreme Court, saying, "This radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority will not end the debate over marriage in this country. Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions."

In 5-4 rulings, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, and let stand same-sex marriage in California.

Repeated requests for response from Attorney General Derek Schmidt on the impact of the decision were not answered. Gov. Sam Brownback, who voted for DOMA when he was in the U.S. Senate, also did not respond for requests to his office for comment.

Advocates on both sides of the issue indicated that neither decision has any immediate impact on Kansas' constitutional amendment that declares marriage must be between one man and one woman.

But gay rights advocates and legal scholars said the decision may be the beginning of the end for the amendment, which was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters in Kansas in 2005.

Kansas University constitutional law professor Rick Levy said the court decisions increase the likelihood that the constitutional same-sex marriage ban will be overturned at some point.

He added that the Supreme Court ruling in the DOMA case is "highly significant," calling it "another step down the road to saying same-sex couples have an equal right to marry."

The Supreme Court decisions were greeted enthusiastically by gay and lesbian supporters who turned out for a rally in South Park.

“This is just the next step in getting our relationships recognized legally all over the country,” said Lisa Rasor, who last year married her longtime partner Lori Wagner in Iowa, one of 12 states that recognize same-sex marriages.

Mike Boring said it is still not clear whether he and his husband George King can file joint federal tax returns because even though they were married in Iowa where same-sex marriage is legal, they live in Kansas where it is not.

“We're still going to see how that works out,” Boring said. “But it's a step in the right direction.”

The two rulings also gratified some heterosexual couples, including Gary Brunk and his wife Joey Sprague.

“I think it's historic, I think it's a real move forward for equality, and our marriage doesn't feel threatened,” Brunk said.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat who voted against the Kansas amendment when it was adopted in 2005, said she doubts the rulings will prompt the Kansas Legislature to revisit the gay marriage issue.

“My understanding is that the decisions today in some ways invited further court action, and one of those actions would be to review the rights of states,” Francisco said.

Scott Criqui, the vice chairman for the Lawrence branch of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said, "I think it's wonderful news. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’m so happy for my friends who live in California. It’s as positive as anyone could expect with this Supreme Court."

Maggie Childs, an associate professor at Kansas University and a former chairwoman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, was pleased with the decision but said the struggle for equality was far from over.

"We still have things to do, and we shouldn’t forget we don’t have a no-discrimination in the workplace law on the national level," she said.

Levy noted that another provision of DOMA says states don't have to recognize a marriage that is valid in another state. The court did not act on that provision.

Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said Congress needs to repeal that part of DOMA.

"Should Congress fail to act, we hope the courts will once again step in to guarantee fair treatment for all Americans," Witt said.

Witt said KEC was "elated that the Court stood on the right side of history for justice, fairness, and equality for all citizens." But, he said, Kansas and 36 other states "still treat gay and lesbian couples and their children as unequal and second-class citizens."


blindrabbit 4 years, 12 months ago

Great decisions; but sick of Catholic members of the Court holding to their religious dogma rather than voting on the "Rights" side of the issue. Catholic members Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas voting with the Pope and Rome, whereas Ginsburg, Kennedy, Sotomeyer Kagan and Breyer voting for America. Kansas hold your breath, changes are a-comin, regardless of what Smilin Sam and his troupe of bigots want.

Liberty275 4 years, 12 months ago

I'd like to say congrats to our gay friends. I'd also like to congratulate our polygamist friends, but they are still victims of discrimination.

Until the law reads plainly that any person of legal age of their free will can marry whatever persons they want, marriage is a flawed concept. Get out of the homosexuals lives, and get out of everyone else's.

I hope our gay friends will join us in continuing to press for equality in marriage for everyone.

Liberty275 4 years, 12 months ago

A person must be of legal age to enter into a contract.

gr 4 years, 12 months ago

But they've had equal rights. We are informed they can and DO marry.

Then they come out of the closet.

What about "equal rights" for trans, etc.?

Seth Peterson 4 years, 12 months ago

Someone doesn't understand "equal" or "rights".

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 12 months ago

Well it's about flippin time! Now, onto evolution in schools...

Satirical 4 years, 12 months ago

I haven't read the ruling yet, but the outcome makes sense. I just wonder when polygamists will get full equality in the eyes of the federal government.

LawrenceTownie 4 years, 12 months ago

And only total nutcases would ever want more than 1 husband, if that many.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

I was going to rush out and gay marry just so I could destroy hetero marriage, but then realized I didn't want even one husband or wife.

Kate Rogge 4 years, 12 months ago

I'd guess polygamists and polyandrists will have their day in court as soon as they can put a solid case together and advance it to the Supreme Court's docket. I'm not sure how the Court would find a basis on which to withhold full legal equality for whatever marriage arrangements consenting adults wish to make among themselves.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

Well, this ruling leaves open the question of whether or not states can determine who gets to get married.

They overturned something on procedural grounds - a question of standing. But they didn't rule on whether or not a state can decide who marries.

I suspect we'll have to get a case in which a state forbids gay marriage, and that's upheld by a state supreme court to the US SC before that issue is really resolved.

So, until then, states can probably forbid polygamy, etc.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

The DOMA decision does cover this. It says it's up to the states, long has been, with the Loving v. Virginia caveat that a state's marriage laws can't disregard the constitutional rights of its citizens. So that's what it will ultimately come down to. Whether the Supreme Court will say a state can't exclude same-sex couples from marriage laws because doing so runs afoul of the federal Constitution. It'll be a lawsuit filed by a couple in a state that prohibits same-sex marriage who try to get a marriage license and are denied.

These cases weren't set up well to get to that ultimate issue, but based on the Prop 8 ruling, I think there was a little reluctance (even if there might ultimately be the votes for it) to issue a broad ruling just yet. We'll see how long they wait to be ready for that broader ruling.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

Thanks - I didn't know the decision explicitly covered that.

I generally agree with the rest - it's about what I thought as well.

With the Loving decision, I'm kind of surprised that the court hasn't gotten there yet, actually. That decision explicitly held marriage to be a "fundamental right", didn't it?

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Yes. The current state of the law is that no one is denied the fundamental right to marry. That's the argument anyway. No gay person is denied the right. They just can't marry the person they most want to, but hey, that happens to lots of straight people, too, right? ;)

It's just a matter of finding the best conceptual framework for the argument, finding the case that best fits that framework, and getting it up to SCOTUS. Experts at case set-up spend years (decades?) searching for just the right plaintiffs in the best state, city, or federal appellate circuit so they can set up the case in just the right way and then hope it gets to SCOTUS. For every actual SCOTUS decision, there were many other similar cases that weren't taken.

Personally, I think Judge Walker (the federal district court judge in the Prop 8 case) wrote the perfect opinion in support of marriage equality. (I think Kennedy thought so, too, and was ready to go there, which is why he dissented on Prop 8 and would have gotten to the merits. Walker's opinion was practically a love letter to Kennedy.) But that case just wasn't the right one for the broader issue as it was way too easy to punt. Plus, the jurisdictional issue was a big one. Saying those individuals could appeal the trial court ruling would have opened the door to citizens everywhere trying to take over litigation involving the state. That can of worms needed to be avoided.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

Cute. But, of course, the idea is very flawed. One could use it with inter-racial marriage as well - anybody can marry somebody of their own race. Doesn't work there either, really.

Yes. That's why I said I think there'd have to be a case in which a marriage ban was upheld by a state supreme court first - isn't that the process? First, people have to apply to the state sc, then eventually (maybe) to the us sc. You can't just go right to the us sc, if the issue is a state one, right?

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Yes, in fact that argument was used with interracial marriage.

I suspect (though I'm not sure) that there is already a lawsuit or two out there, but we'll have to wait and see.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

Actually, wasn't that the same argument used, and rejected, in Loving?

overthemoon 4 years, 12 months ago

I don't think Polygamists were born that way.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

Actually, a lot of people seem to be---as opposed to being monogamous in their relationships.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 12 months ago

Perhaps we were ALL born polygamists. That may or may not be a good thing, but many critters do seem to quite naturally "stray" from dictated pack rules/orders. Many pack members deal with this state of affairs in violent ways. Should we encourage such violence and the repercussions of that brand of violence? There are those who believe that they should dictate our behavior. Should they? Why?

I think it should ALL be about the "WHY?" and argued in a public forum.

Dan Matthews 4 years, 12 months ago

According to this ruling it would seem that they do.

"In the Supreme Court ruling, the majority said that same-sex couples cannot be denied equal rights when the denial is based on animus or disapproval of a group."

Now replace "same-sex couples" with "polygamists" and there you go....

Liberty275 4 years, 12 months ago

How about 6 husbands and 8 wives?

Thank you for bringing up continued discrimination in what I can tell you is a forum that is somewhat hostile towards your statement. A dozen people will agree with you and the rest will continue following their bigoted ideology.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 12 months ago

Multiple husbands and wives in a complex marriage has been tried, but it didn't work.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago


Current infidelity and divorce rates are so high that one could easily argue that monogamous marriage "doesn't work".

Personally, I think that the more options people have for structuring relationships, the more likely it is that they'll find/make one that works for them, and what works for one person may be very different from what works for others.

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 12 months ago

Will the Journal World start publishing all wedding announcements instead of it's currently policy that blocks the publication of those wedding announcements based on the gender of the parties?

Gregory Newman 4 years, 12 months ago

It is stated in the 14th amendment Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge- (reduce, curtail, slash, cut) the privileges or immunities (the condition of not affected) of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

According to this amendment of our constitution Gay couples have a right to marry regardless of anyone’s personal feelings. Bible principle is not constitutional.

It is stated in the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress (to remedy or rectify) of grievances.” So therefore, same-sex marriage should never be heard in court at any level period.

This nation came upon this situation because of two religions the Catholics and the Mormons. These two institutions had the unadulterated guile to go on the offensive by funding and addressing the issue to the courts in California which nullified the effect of the 1st amendment.

What is so disturbing is that you have one religion that has issues with pedophilia and the other polygamy. Then the Protestants jumped in and took sides and in some cases it has split families and congregations. Now the God of heaven and earth is receiving the blame because of the ignorance of His followers. If the religious community did not go on the offensive this situation would have remained in the City and County of San Francisco as a Civil Union per the voters of the City and County of San Francisco and not the rest of the Nation.

In this nation it became a habit to announce the 1st amendment as the separation of Church and State. But the term is an offshoot of the phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

The original text reads: "... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The phrase "separation of church and state" itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

Since our civil liberties have accepted marriage as a privilege. We as humans should not take the institution of marriage as an idea or personal property to manage as one would deem fit. So therefore, it would be profane to determine what is fair or equitable about a principle that belongs to God to define humanity.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 12 months ago

"What is so disturbing is that you have one religion that has issues with pedophilia and the other polygamy."

If you think that the Roman Catholic church is in favor of pedophilia, you are dead wrong. But, it is true that there are a few sinners in the fold. And, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints formally renounced polygamy over one hundred years ago, leaving only a small fringe group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) that practices it. But it is practiced in a legal fashion, where one man has one wife and the others are legally only mistresses.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

"issue with" doesn't translate to "in favor of".

And, there are many more than "a few" priests who've had problems with it.

deec 4 years, 12 months ago

Yup. It is, and has been, an ongoing global trend for at least the last century.

"The 4,392 priests (U.S. only) who were accused amount to approximately 4% of the 109,694 priests in active ministry during that time."

Corpus 4 years, 12 months ago

U.S. v. Windsor gained traction as a tax case where the surviving spouse of a New York same sex marriage was exempt from inheritance tax in New York, but was forced to pay Federal inheritance tax, creating what is described by today's Supreme Court decision as "two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State.

With the finding that DOMA is unconstitutional, it would appear that legally married same sex couples residing in Kansas will now be able to file joint federal tax returns as married couples. At the same time, under the current Kansas Constitutional amendment, the marriage of these very same couples is not recognized within the State of Kansas thus barring them from filing as a married couple, at a reduced tax rate, on their Kansas income taxes.

On the face of it, this creates the same conflict between Federal and State law that was the heart of the ruling today. The first couple that is denied married status on Kansas tax returns could arguably have standing to contest the Kansas Constitutional amendment as a denial of their now recognized federal constitutional right to not have two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State.

Should not Kansas be required to insure that a couples marriage, legally performed and recognized in the state where the marriage was granted and now also recognized for Federal tax purposes (and one would hope that soon for all other Federal benefits)by the Federal government, be given 'full faith and credit' in Kansas?

It may take time, but indeed, the handwriting is on the wall.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

Not sure that's right.

Nothing in the ruling that I'm aware of prevents states from setting their own rules regarding marriage. Overturning DOMA just means that couples who are legally married in a state can't be denied federal benefits accruing to married couples.

The full faith and credit argument is interesting - but somehow, it hasn't been used in these sorts of things.

gatekeeper 4 years, 12 months ago

I will be reading the decision tonight, but what they said on CNN was that the way the decision was worded totally left the door open for cases to be filed challenging states setting marriage laws. Said it will be a matter of days or maybe weeks (not many) before the first cases are filed challenging the bans in multiple states. Their estimate was five years and these bans would make it to the SCOTUS and will be found unconstitutional, which they are.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

The use of the "standing" issue means that they didn't rule on whether or not states could set marriage restrictions, as I understand it. They sort of ducked the issue.

We'd have to have a case in which marriage bans in a state were upheld by the state supreme court, and then brought to the us sc, I think, without standing issues.

I agree, of course, that marriage bans are unconstitutional.

tolawdjk 4 years, 12 months ago

That's my take. The fact that California did not defend the case, but the petitioners did is the reason it was handled by the Court the way it was. The Court basically said the case shouldn't even be there and therefore didn't rule on the merits, only on the proceedural issue.

gccs14r 4 years, 12 months ago

I'm glad they handled it that way, because that enforces the legal issue of standing and prevents just any yahoo from challenging something he doesn't like, whether it affects him or not.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Ok - if you elope with an Elvis impersonator drive-through wedding in Nevada, that marriage is still considered valid in Kansas, even though you couldn't have conducted a valid wedding without a waiting period in Kansas. If you marry a first cousin in a state where that is legal and move to a state that forbids it, you're still considered married. Same with blood tests, specific forms, or whatever other things that each state checks differently. When you move from state to state, the other state recognizes the marriage.

In this case, if a gay couple marries in Iowa, they're still not considered married in Kansas, and that's only because of their gender. It may well be that Kansas will eventually be forced to recognize the marriage as valid.

My understanding is that they did not rule on that specific part of the law, since the couple that was suing was only interested in having federal recognition of what was a valid marriage in their state. The next challenge will probably tackle that aspect.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Actually, chootspa, there are states that do not recognize first cousin marriages lawfully entered into in other states. (Nerd alert: yes, I have truly researched this and read the specific state laws.) Married first cousins had better not retire to Arizona because their marriage will not be recognized there.

Then there are other states that will recognize a first cousin marriage if the couple lived in Mass, got married there, and then later moved to that other state. But if two citizens of that other state go on vacation to Mass and get married, that marriage will NOT be recognized when they come home because it's seen as trying to get around their home state's laws.

Then there are states that prohibit first cousin marriage but will recognize all first cousin marriages lawfully entered into in other states, even of their own citizens who go to another state just to get married.

It's all really arcane, but all of this is fully allowed under longstanding interpretation of the full faith and credit clause.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Interesting. And totally messy. I'm willing to bet those statutes are rarely if ever enforced. They're not going to do a genealogy check when you move, so the only way they'd know is if there were a complaint.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

I agree on the rare enforcement, but if it's going to come up, it'll be sometime like when settling an estate of one spouse and there's a greedy niece or nephew. All of a sudden a grieving spouse could also be facing a contested estate, the imposition of estate taxes, etc. The lawyer in me compels me to suggest that people in lawful marriages that might for some reason not be considered lawful in all states should research the laws of the states wherein they reside to make sure they won't face any really unpleasant surprises at the worst possible time.

fiddleback 4 years, 12 months ago

FYI, the NYTimes just posted this guide explaining the immediate impacts of the rulings based on state law.

So, if you married in a state that allowed same sex marriage but currently live in a state with a ban, not even your federal income taxes can be filed as a married couple, because the IRS defers to the law where you reside, not where you were married.

However, if you were married in another state, and are a soldier or other employee of the Dept. of Defense, you can receive benefits and treatment as a couple, because Dept. of Defense defers to where you were married...

In conclusion, it's a mess. But, I would expect that this current set of disparities would highly incentivize same-sex couples to move to states with legalized same sex marriage since they can then receive federal benefits and income tax filing advantages for married couples. Before yesterday's ruling, the biggest advantage that they could pursue was married filing for state taxes in those few the lure of federal recognition and federal tax advantages will make residing in those states all the more appealing.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

Since in Kansas a couple needs only to declare themselves married, needing no license or preacher, what is to keep same sex couples from getting married even as we speak?

George_Braziller 4 years, 12 months ago

That's only for heterosexual couples. Same sex couples have no legal recognition of the relationship in Kansas. If my partner of 23 years ended up in the emergency room because of an accident the only way I'd be allowed in is if I had driven him there and was present at the time to fill out the paperwork.

If I got a call he was in the emergency room and he wasn't able to say he wanted me to be there I'd just have to sit in the waiting room because I wasn't "family."

Been there before.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

A good reason for the ban to be struck down. Seems completely inhumane to me and I'm sorry you have to put up with it.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

From your link - "people of the same sex are not allowed to marry in KS."

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

So---this decision doesn't strike down that law? Or we have to wait until somebody contests it? Or we're not sure yet what it means?

And here I thought I was really onto something!

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

No, these two decisions do not strike down that law. These two decisions are quite narrow in scope. The federal government now has to recognize the marriages of all people who have lawful marriage licenses. And Prop 8 in California is dead so the original California Supreme Court case ruling the state had to allow same-sex marriages is back in effect.

As for how these two decisions will affect other state laws, it is only a matter of what persuasive value the language in these cases will have.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 12 months ago

I am all for gay right and marriages, but why do we have elections if the minority of voters goes to court and throws out what the majority wanted?

orbiter 4 years, 12 months ago

srj- It seems you might need to take an intro to U.S. government class.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 12 months ago

Someone doesn't understand the concept of a representative democracy, or the US government. It's job is to Protect the Rights of those in the Minority, especially against the oppression of the majority.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 12 months ago

Or he could be complaining about the Electoral College, and just wasn't very specific.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 12 months ago

There should be a vote on who gets rights and who doesn't.

Imagine you're stuck on a desert island with 2 other people. They decide to have a vote on killing and eating you. Of course you're going to vote no because you don't want to die. The other 2 guys are going to vote yes because they are more concerned with eating than they are about your life.

overthemoon 4 years, 12 months ago

Huelskamp has just said he'll file a constitutional amendment to restore DOMA. Boy is he deluded.

tolawdjk 4 years, 12 months ago

What does Obama's position on this have to do with the price of tea in China?

Other than to serve as a Teapub bitching point?

deec 4 years, 12 months ago

Um, I accidentally heard Rush make this EXACT SAME point about Obama about 12:20 this afternoon.

I swear I didn't hear it on purpose. I pushed the AM/FM button while stabbing at the radio set button and got to crazytown radio in error. After I got done laughing, I went back to FM.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

Accidentally, sure it was. Not a "closet" listener, uh-huh ;-)

I'm going to be sorry I said that, but sometimes the devil is too much to resist.

deec 4 years, 12 months ago

Actually, it was a little love tap from karma. I was joking with my son just before I left to go to work about how it might be amusing t watch or listen to the apoplexy on the right about the decision. Goddess don't like ugly.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 12 months ago

snap snap

Focus, boiled, focus - try to stay with the discussion.

Bob Forer 4 years, 12 months ago

What do you expect. Obama is a politician. Rick Santorum used to be a hard drinking, fun loving frat boy until he became a politician. His wife lived in sin for many years with an abortionist old enough to be her father. Now she is staunch "pro-life, pro-family." There are numerous examples on both the right and the left of "evolving" positions.

Get used to it.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago


Also, it's quite possible for people to change their views as a result of new information, critical analysis, conversations with others, etc.

Believing the same thing consistently for many years isn't necessarily a virtue.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

It's flip-flopping if you don't like them, reasoned change if you do ;-)

gccs14r 4 years, 12 months ago

It's flip-flopping if you change positions in the same afternoon, depending on who's asking the question. It's not flip-flopping if your position changes over time and generally moves in one direction as it changes.

blindrabbit 4 years, 12 months ago

srj: Wake up, when should a majority vote decide the "Rights" of anybody including any minority, no matter how small. Many states are majority populated by bigoted people who mare willing to assume their own constitutional rights but equally willing to deny others. Hence the courts!!!

Jason Bowers-Chaika 4 years, 12 months ago

It's time to start investing in everything related to weddings such as cakes, tux, dresses, travel, and yes divorce. Leave it to gays to give the economy a kick in the azz.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Kansas is foolish to not cash in on this. Judy Garland - Wizard of Oz. I'm just sayin.

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 12 months ago

Seriously. I'm going to have to limit my wedding attendance to about one or two per year. All of my friends are going to be trying to "out-fabulous" one another!

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

A friend once called not allowing gay folks the right to plan their own wedding "cruel and unusual punishment" :-)

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

I thought about making a comment about weddings being more tasteful now, but wasn't sure if it was pc. Can I say that?

fiddleback 4 years, 12 months ago

Again, gayokay, it will become an even bigger deal in the states where it's already legal, because now there's the extra lure of federal recognition while living in those states. In the states with bans, there's no real change, and the only thing being stimulated will be realty companies helping gay couples sell their houses so they can finally move to the aforementioned equality-embracing states.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 12 months ago

My worry is look at Row vs Wade, that was decided by the court in 1973 and that's still being picked at.

Keith 4 years, 12 months ago

If the water is less than waist deep, wade, if deeper, row.

blindrabbit 4 years, 12 months ago

srj: My Catholic comments (see first post this story) apply to Roe vrs. Wade just as they do with regard to the DOMA SCOTUS vote. With only about 30% of the U.S. population subscribing to the Catholic faith, how come 6 of the 9 SCOTUS justices are Catholic (Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Sotomeyer and Thomas).. The other 3 are Jewish. How can the court be considered balanced given the religious breakdown as it now exists. Even more noteworthy, all 9 are graduates of either Harvard, Yale or Columbia law schools, talk about an Eastern bias.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Look at how many of them are white and male. It's never been anywhere close to representative.

gccs14r 4 years, 12 months ago

Because we had three terms of Bush, two of Clinton, then two of Bush as POTUS. No surprise that the Justices aren't very diverse in their religion or education.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

? ? ?

But none of the above mentioned are Jewish or Catholic.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 12 months ago

States will have to define marriage consistent with the equal protections guaranteed under the Constitution. Listening to Justice Kennedy's rather sweeping language in today's decision, I find it difficult to imagine how a state will so narrowly define institutions that would be separate yet equal. Nor should they try, in my opinion, as any such attempt will rightfully fail. Today's ruling is long overdue. If ever there was a time to move on, now is that time.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 12 months ago

Tangent. How much respect do you think Levy is due? The original meaning of 'with all due respect" implies that not much is due.

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 12 months ago

It would now be appropriate to see Kansas reinstate the Sodomy laws.

gccs14r 4 years, 12 months ago

So they'll have yet another unconstitutional law on the books? No money for education, but plenty to waste on attempts to defend immoral laws in Federal court. Crazy.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 4 years, 12 months ago

The sodomy laws in Kansas have never been removed from the books.

George_Braziller 4 years, 12 months ago

And consensual heterosexual oral sex is also classified as sodomy

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

But only same-sex sodomy is illegal under the Kansas statute.

Criminal sodomy. (a) Criminal sodomy is: (1) Sodomy between persons who are 16 or more years of age and members of the same sex or between a person and an animal;

  (2)   sodomy with a child who is 14 or more years of age but less than 16 years of age; or

  (3)   causing a child 14 or more years of age but less than 16 years of age to engage in sodomy with any person or animal.

George_Braziller 4 years, 12 months ago

That was my point. It's legal for two 18 year old heterosexuals after a third date, but illegal for a same-sex couple after being in a 20, 30, or 50 year committed relationship.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Gotcha. Yes, pretty much everything other than straight up intercourse is sodomy, but it's only called illegal (though totally unenforceable) when it's people of the same sex.

verity 4 years, 12 months ago

Now that is just funny.

It is sarcasm, isn't it?

Armored_One 4 years, 12 months ago

There is a really simple cure...

Religious marriages (performed in a religious building like a church) and civil marriages (anything decidedly not religious, like justice of the peace) are separated by a constitutional amendment.

Both are completely and totally legal, in terms of all applicable laws. However, civil marriages are not open for debate, nor are religious. No sitting government can challenge any decision by a religious institution on whether or not they marry gays. Religious institutions are banned from doing the same thing to civil marriages.

No one is forced to do anything, church and state stay separate, and everyone wins in the end.

gccs14r 4 years, 12 months ago

That's sort of the divide in Western Europe. Couples must be married by the State, then are free to have a religious ceremony performed if they so choose.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Rep. Huelskamp, aren't you supposed to be for fiscal responsibility and small government? There is no possibility your proposed amendment could pass the Senate now, let alone the 38 states necessary for an amendment to be ratified. So why on earth would you waste one cent of taxpayer money on this?

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Of course that's what it is. But it's my money he's doing it with, so I object.

notajayhawk 4 years, 12 months ago

I don't know why anyone would think this is going to affect Kansas at all. (Oops - it's Scott Rothschild - that explains it.) The decision very clearly states that the ruling applies ONLY to marriages that are legally recognized by the states. Section 2 of the DOMA was not challenged, not addressed by the court, and remains in effect, so Kansas doesn't even have to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state. If anything, the ruling affirmed the right of the 37 states that currently outlaw same-sex marriages to continue doing so - Kennedy's majority opinion repeated several times that the states, not the federal government, have the right to define marriage.

Overall, despite the proclamations, this was hardly an earth-shattering change, and the rulings don't really justify all the celebrating. The existence of a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage wasn't even addressed, section 2 of the DOMA remains in effect so same-sex marriages are only valid until you move to a state that chooses not to recognize it ... other than federal taxes and benefits, not much was gained (and even THOSE are lost if you move out of one of the 12 states recognizing the marriage).

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

I think the end of a federal law that discriminated against lawful marriages simply because they involved same-sex couples is absolutely an "earth-shattering change" justifying lots of celebrating.

Section 2 is frankly irrelevant to the question of full faith and credit for marriages between states. (A fact I would think a constitutional law professor at KU ought to know...) States have never been required to recognize marriages from other states, as is clear by the fact that 3 states completely refuse to recognize first cousin marriages, while other states have a variety of rules about recognizing them. This case was never the case for challenging that interpretation of the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution (which controls the issue, not DOMA).

You're right it wasn't full marriage equality. But it was a big first step from SCOTUS. Lots and lots of couples did in fact earn something substantive today. And the most populous state in the country will now have legal same-sex marriage (again). That is most definitely worth celebrating.

notajayhawk 4 years, 12 months ago

The ruling had nothing to do with marriage "equality". It had to do with the states' right to define marriage, whether "equal" or not. The states where same-sex marriages were already legal gained very little - federal tax and survivor benefits, and not much else. In states where same-sex marriages were illegal (about three quarters of the country), nothing whatsoever has changed - especially as, as you pointed out yourself, the full faith and credit clause does not apply to marriage. You can celebrate if you want - but despite Mr. Rothschild's rather wishful thinking, not a single thing has changed in Kansas.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Federal tax and survivor benefits are actually huge. This means $300,000 or so to Edie Windsor. I don't know why you feel the need to be such a negapuss about it.

I think I was the first person on this thread to say that these two decisions wouldn't affect Kansas. It's a fanciful headline indeed. But, nonetheless, I'm going to celebrate the end of a discriminatory federal law that I have been appalled by since the first day it was proposed. Why on earth wouldn't I be?

notajayhawk 4 years, 12 months ago

Not being negative, just musing - IMHO, the Court punted this one - they pretty much completely ignored (in both cases) the issue of whether or not there's a constitutional right to marriage. I'm not surprised at all that Kennedy sided with the liberal members, because he didn't really rule along liberal lines - he ruled (correctly) that the states, not the feds, get to decide how to define marriage.

Which brings up an interesting thought: I'm not one of these slippery slope folks who say now people will be marrying dogs or trees - but suppose, just as a purely academic exercise, that the state of Utah passed a law tomorrow recognizing polygamy - according to this ruling, wouldn't the federal government have to recognize those marriages as well? How would that work? Would they be able to file a joint tax return with twelve spouses (and 30 or 40 kids) on it? Would all 5 or 10 wives be entitled to survivor benefits? Again, just musing ...

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

The court was never going to issue a broad-scope opinion on marriage equality on these two cases. The decisions are narrowly-tailored to the unique circumstances of DOMA and Prop 8, just as most people expected. I think Kennedy actually was ready to pull the trigger on the Prop 8 case but the deal was worked out instead to deal with the jurisdictional issue instead (which probably really needed to be done), but that's just an educated guess on my part.

notajayhawk 4 years, 12 months ago

You may also be prematurely celebrating the change in California. Since the Supreme Court threw out the 9th Circuit's decision, there IS no appellate ruling on Prop 8, and California law requires an appellate ruling before a law is set aside.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

That one will be interesting indeed. But I'll celebrate it for today regardless. I'm not really convinced Judge Walker's decision won't stand.

notajayhawk 4 years, 12 months ago

Coin toss. Either they stop enforcing it immediately and someone sues saying they can't do that, or else they hold off until someone sues (again) to have it overturned and it reaches the appellate level. Either way the final decision could be years away. My bet is they'll stop enforcing it now, and the 9th Circuit won't issue an injunction while they're waiting for a decision, so for all intent and purposes that one is probably an immediate (or near immediate) win for same sex marriage.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Oh, I also think you're wrong on that appellate ruling thing, as it pertains to this case. At least I'm not finding any support for that contention anywhere. There is a valid order by a federal district court which the state has chosen not to contest. The Governor is already preparing to reinstate same-sex marriages. If litigation happens (which I think is likely), I suspect it will come from a court clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses.

notajayhawk 4 years, 12 months ago


SEC. 3.5. An administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power: (a) To declare a statute unenforceable, or refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis of it being unconstitutional unless an appellate court has made a determination that such statute is unconstitutional; (b) To declare a statute unconstitutional; (c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations.

I think both sides have an argument there. In any event, like I said, I agree that they'll most likely go ahead and act as if it's already been declared unconstitutional, even though the 9th Circuit's ruling was vacated.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 12 months ago

Yes, and I'm saying i don't think that stops the government here from following Judge Walker's ruling.

ProfessorSeamus 4 years, 12 months ago

I think you are underestimating the impact of this ruling, and severely underestimating it at that. Fiddleback posted (after your post, I acknowledge) a link to the NY Times explanation of impacts in various states. According to his/her synopsis the Federal Government uses marriage location to determine if you are eligible for benefits. The IRS uses current location for tax status. So, even if Kansas residents cannot file federal tax returns as married as things currently stand, gay and lesbian couples who were legally married elsewhere would be eligible for federal benefits if one spouse was a federal employee. Given the large number of federal employees located in Kansas this has the potential to be a significant change. And it will likely force other employers to expand their benefits programs to compete.

Also, as I understand military taxes, a service member can declare residence in a state for tax purposes even if they are stationed elsewhere. For this reason a large number of people stationed at Fort Riley list Texas as their residence - no state income tax. Now gay couples may have another option. They might be better off listing New York or New Hampshire, paying a small state income tax and getting the federal benefit of filing a joint return. This means people living right here in Kansas could still file federal tax returns as gay couples. In fact, I wish Kansas would do the smart economic thing here and recognize gay marriage, lower the state income tax rate to 3% (hell, its going to get cut next year anyway, at leas this would preserve some of the revenue) and make it known to military members they can file in Kansas as a gay couple if they are legally married. This would allow the state the opportunity to pick up tax revenue from folks who are currently not paying taxes here, and, possible, get folks stationed in other parts of the country to pick Kansas in order to get the benefits. And it would allow Brownback to decrease the marginal rate which he is hell bent to do. It won't happen, of course, but it would be the smart play.

jafs 4 years, 12 months ago

What difference does it make - why do you care what it's called?

That is the hubbub - and it's major. There are over 1200 federal laws involving marriage, which now can apply to couples married legally in their own state, previously denied them.

Because our system isn't simply a "majority rule" system, it's a 3 part system with constitutional rights, and the SC's role is to ensure that legislators don't enact unconstitutional laws, or that people vote for propositions that are unconstitutional.

What if the majority in a state voted to re-establish slavery? Or deny women the right to vote?

Armored_One 4 years, 12 months ago

And if the majority voted to put drunk drivers to death?

The minority has to be protected. We've already fought one civil war. Are you so eager for round 2?

fiddleback 4 years, 12 months ago

Pheps, I don't know if you're actually a social conservative running a false flag by asking remedial questions while showing off that Hillary avatar, but it's grating in any case...

I almost considered earnestly discussing why gay couples want not only the legal but semantic equality that comes with labeling their unions "marriages", and how this country stupidly went down a rabbit hole by being obsessed with the term and delaying legal equality far longer than we should have...

Yes, I almost took that bait, but then I read your last three questions and was reminded of the "undecided voter" clip on SNL last fall...

What's the hubbub? Um, that's what Google's for, Pheps. Look up the new federal benefits afforded to gay couples.

As to the old definition being "ostracized," that's exactly the victim mentality that the hard right wants you to adopt. The word also used to mean that the woman was the man's property, but we dropped that aspect without accusing ourselves of ostracizing those few who still believe that the woman is subservient to/owned by the man.

As for your last question, as jafs suggested, it sounds like you need a primer in American government.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 12 months ago

Gay rights will never fly in Kansas for generations until all the prejudiced, religious morons that elected jerks like Juelskamp are dead and buried.

Ain't gonna happen in 18th century Kansas.

If the facist state legislature passes a law saying that "all gays should be dragged down a gravel road with a log chain and hung in a tree" (as I completely expect them to do) Brownback would sign it in a heartbeat.

Fred Phelps does not exist in a vacuum. His suporters are many and hidden from view.

gatekeeper 4 years, 12 months ago

That's why eventually we will end up with a bill similar to the Voting Rights Act that will grant equal marriage rights to all. Some states, like KS, will never budge because of ignorance and the feds will have to pass laws that trump the state laws on marriage. It will take a while, but can't come soon enough.

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, the Voting Rights Act - how'd that do in the Supreme Court recently?

billbodiggens 4 years, 12 months ago

I don’t know about this Huelskamp fellow, but it appears that he has little or no grasp of U.S. history when he states that the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA matter was a “radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority.” I can only assume that he, a man occupying a high position in government, has no concept of the history of the government he is involved in. I can only assume that he has absolutely no acquaintance with the landmark decision of Marbury v. Madison that has been the law of the land since 1803. 210 years of history has apparently completely bypassed him. What a shame. The concepts of “vapid” and “turbid”come to mind.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 12 months ago

Huelskamp is just another bigot elected to the Kansas Legislature grandstanding for the people who elected him. Plays well with the great unwashed but is of little significance..

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