Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gay marriage now legal in Kansas

November 12, 2014, 4:36 p.m. Updated November 12, 2014, 6:53 p.m.


— The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday authorized same-sex marriages to go forward in Kansas, lifting the stay one justice had granted on an order from a district court in Kansas City, Kan.

In a one-page statement, the court said: “The application for stay presented to Justice (Sonia) Sotomayor and by her referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by Justice Sotomayor is vacated.”

“We won! Let marriages begin,” Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said in an email heralding the court’s decision.

Bonney was the lead attorney for the plaintiffs who filed the case Oct. 10 challenging the state’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The plaintiffs were lesbian couples in Douglas and Sedgwick counties who had been denied licenses because of a 2005 Kansas constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The order, however, does not necessarily end the legal battle in Kansas. It merely lifts the stay that had been placed on a temporary injunction issued last week by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, ordering court clerks in Douglas and Sedgwick counties to begin processing same-sex marriage applications even though the laws banning such marriages are technically still in effect.

Crabtree based that order on the fact that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had already struck down state bans on gay marriage in Utah and Oklahoma, and the U.S. Supreme Court had already declined to hear appeals of those decisions. As a result, he said, the state was unlikely to prevail in defending the ban, and couples being denied the right to marry would be harmed if they continued to be denied while the case was being fought out in court.

Crabtree’s order also was directed only at court clerks in Douglas and Sedgwick counties, where the two plaintiff couples in the case reside.

But Kansas University constitutional law professor Rick Levy said he thinks the Supreme Court’s order can be applied statewide.

“I think that if Judge Crabtree’s order means Kansas constitutional and statutory provisions violate the equal protection clause, those provisions are void,” Levy said. “And if they’re void because they’re unconstitutional, then they’re void not only for the judges that were directly subject to the order but also for every other judge in the state.”

Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, the gay rights and civil rights advocacy group that worked with the ACLU to organize the challenge, said the Supreme Court’s order still made for an “ecstatically happy day.”

He also said he expects same-sex marriages to begin immediately in Kansas, even though the state requires a three-day waiting period after issuing a marriage license.

“Some people already have their applications in. Now all they need to do is go pick up their licenses, if they’ll hand them out,” Witt said. “Some courts may try to drag this out, but they need to get out of the way and let people have their constitutional rights.”

Couples making plans

Thomas Tuozzo, a KU philosophy professor, said Wednesday he will be getting married very soon.

Tuozzo and his partner, Rudd Hedlund, have been together 20 years. Last month, during the see-saw of court rulings and appeals, they went to the Douglas County Courthouse to apply for a marriage license.

With a legal marriage, Tuozzo said, he and his spouse will be able to file joint taxes and share employee benefits like any other married couple.

“That’s good news,” he said of the Supreme Court ruling. “It’s a good feeling, and it’s only fair. This has been an obstacle.”

Tuozzo said he plans to contact Douglas County court officials Thursday to determine whether he needs to reapply or if the license he sought is active.

But Kail Marie and her partner, Michelle Brown, of Lecompton, two of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit who have been together 21 years, said they won’t be getting married anytime soon, at least until the legal challenges run out.

That’s because if they did, the state could ask the U.S. 10th Circuit to dismiss their case, Marie said.

“Michelle and I can’t run out and get married,” Marie said. “We are going with the flow. We expected this.”

But Marie said she was pleased once again with a court ruling.

“Oh God, yes,” Marie said. “But it’s not over while the statute is still on the books.”

The lawsuit in one month

The case that prompted Wednesday’s decision swept rapidly through all three levels of the federal courts in barely a month’s time.

The case was filed Oct. 10, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from several appellate courts that had struck down state bans on gay marriage. Two of those were from Utah and Oklahoma, which along with Kansas, are part of the 10th Circuit. That made those cases binding on all federal courts within the circuit.

As part of the suit, the plaintiffs also asked for a temporary injunction to bar court clerks in Douglas and Sedgwick counties from denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples even while the case was being heard.

Also that week, the Kansas Supreme Court blocked an administrative order from the chief judge in Johnson County, who had directed his staff to begin processing same-sex marriage applications. At least one couple there received a license and was legally married before the state high court issued its stay.

On Nov. 4, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree granted an injunction, directing court clerks in those counties to begin issuing marriage licenses, effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed that order. After the 10th Circuit refused to stay the order, he filed an emergency request Monday with Justice Sotomayor, who handles such requests from states within the 10th Circuit.

Schmidt had argued that Crabtree’s order should be stayed because a case involving the same issue was still pending before the Kansas Supreme Court. On the same day he made that argument to Sotomayor, however, he also filed a brief with the Kansas high court, arguing that it should not act on the matter because there was still pending litigation in federal courts.

In particular, Schmidt has asked that the entire 10th Circuit Court of Appeals review a decision by a three-judge panel last week that refused to stay Judge Crabtree’s order.

The U.S. Supreme Court order Wednesday lifting the stay indicated that two of the nine justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, would have voted to grant the stay, effectively making it a 7-2 decision in favor of gay marriage in Kansas.

KU’s Rick Levy said Wednesday’s decision does not necessarily end the legal battle in Kansas, or in the nation. But he said the ruling will make it difficult, if not impossible, to re-impose a ban on gay marriage again in Kansas. He also said it will be difficult for the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold such bans in any other state.

“A lot of people think if the court’s majority was going to rule that same-sex marriage was illegal, they would have done so sooner,” he said. “A lot of people who look at the denial of (requests to review) in those other cases saw it as significant, not because the Supreme Court tipped its hand, but because if the court was going to stop same-sex marriages going forward, that was the time to do it, before a lot of couples had gotten married.”

Witt agreed, although he said he still expects there to be “pockets of resistance” in Kansas.

Journal-World reporter Karen Dillon contributed to this report


Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 4 months ago

Am I the first here?? Well....Hooray!!!! Finally, some sanity has come to Kansas and the population of gay folks who wish to commit to a lifetime together just the same as the rest of us, I think they call us "straight" for some reason. Some "straight" people have made life pretty miserable for others, and it is way past time for this issue to be settled.

Oh, I have no illusions that the Republican majority will try their very best to make life difficult for gay folks with their religion-soaked notions and attitudes. But this is a beginning, an new and good beginning and all you folks who have been oppressed and discriminated against by the bigots and throwbacks among us. You have my very best wishes and hopefulness for a hopeful and bright future in obstinately ossified "Bleeding Kansas"

Chris Golledge 3 years, 4 months ago

Yes! And on top of that, it is a little vindication that our system of checks and balances, executive, legislative, and judicial, does still work, even if it takes a dang long time.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 years, 4 months ago

I wish I could give the name and credit to the Law Professor that pointed out that Attorney General Schmidt's assertion that Gay Marriage would only be legal in the 2 counties noted in the Lawsuit is absurd. It will be legal in ALL counties. Nothing in the article here about that but it was in the article on the radio. Apparently Justices Scalia and Thomas went on record in support of the views of The Kansas Government.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 4 months ago

The Attorney General is one of the Koch Industries Regime puppets. Someone chastised me that the Kochs were in favor of gay rights, I guess not.

Doris Carman 3 years, 4 months ago

It matters not whether you are homosexual or hetrosexual, the point is The majority of us voted not to have same sex marriages here in Kansas. What the SC did was overturn our votes. That should not be fair but it happened. Why should we vote an issue if they can just turn it around. One minute they vote one way and then it gets serious and they all turn liberal.

Chris Golledge 3 years, 4 months ago

The judicial branch is there to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. If it was a only a matter of votes, the minority would have no protection at all. Fair? It's not fair that you do not get to impose your views on everyone? That strikes me as an odd sort of fairness.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

As the SC should. After all, just because something is voted for by the majority of the folks who bothered to vote for doesn't make it Constitutional.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, that is a great burden lifted. To all the couples that can now get married, God bless you all, and now go out and celebrate.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 4 months ago

I am with Eileen. You have a right to practice your religion freely as you desire. You do not have the right to prevent anyone else from doing something that your religion says is "wrong". And if you want to maintain your "hoiler than thou" attitude, well I guess if you insist, you can do that too. We need more "Sister Bertha-Better-Than-yous" and "Brother Self Righteous Bobs" to entertain us.

You need to remember that Jesus said to" love one another". Didja forget that one??

Jim Schilling 3 years, 4 months ago

That quote is not in the Bible M. Lindeman. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Jesus

Brock Masters 3 years, 4 months ago

M. I am Christian and as many here can attest ai am conservative. I support same sex marriage for several reasons.

Our country was founded on the ideal of religious freedom. In order for me and others to freely practice our religion we mus be free of the government from establishing laws that favor one religion over another.

Ergo, the government must show some societal harm to not apply marriage laws equally regardless of sexual orientation. It cannot prohibit same sex marriage based on religious tenets or beliefs otherwise it is establishing a state religion.

I oppose the ban because I am not God. Homosexuality may well be a sin but it isn't up to me to decide or to punish people. If it is truly a sin then God will deal with them. Of course, it may take him a while because he will be busy dealing with me and a multitude of other straights who are sinners.

I believe when God judges me, he is apt to forgive me for my sins if I have treated his children with kindness and love. I don't think I will receive a pat on the back for denying gays an opportunity to enjoy the state-given benefits of marriage that straight people enjoy.

Fred Phelps, if I am wrong and you went right to the head of the line when you died give me a sign and I will repent.

My opposition to the ban goes beyond denying the equal application and benefits of the law. I think what it would be like if I were to live in a gay world and could not marry the woman I loved. I would be sad and feel a bit empty. I don't want to be the cause of that hurt when it is unnecessary. Same sex marriage does not negatively impact anyone. It only brings happiness.

Open the paper on any given day and you will find an article detailing the morally reprehensible crime committed by some straight person. And yet, they can marry. I want that gay couple who are good and decent contributors to our society to enjoy all the benefits inclipuding marriage that I enjoy.

So unless Fred gives me a sign that is why I oppose the ban.

Greg Cooper 3 years, 4 months ago

Excellent, Fred. And God bless your kind of Christianity.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

That's a quote from St. Augustine. And, last time I looked, there is no Book of Augustine in the Bible. Or did YOU forget THAT one???

Doris Carman 3 years, 4 months ago

We do? I doubt it. They take our votes away and you call that fair?

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 4 months ago

If what you vote for is unconstitutional then, yes. I call it fair.

Mark Luttrell 3 years, 4 months ago

M. Lindeman, God doesn't specifically discuss quantum physics, nor does he apparently ascribe to particle physics, relativity, calculus, or that my favorite color is blue, therefore I cannot imagine God blessing any of these things, let alone them being true in any manner. If you disagree, I challenge you to show me scripture that would side with you which you and I know you can't.

Brian Woods 3 years, 4 months ago

Not trying to get all religious but didn't God create mankind in his own image. Think that's what Genesis 1:27 says. So if someone is gay, straight, yellow, red, or brown and they want to get married who cares? Its 2014, get over it.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 4 months ago

Ms. Lindeman, I mean that the burden was lifted from gay people you can now get married. I was saying God bless all gay people and celebrate your wedding day with joy as you have every right to. I believe that God loves gay people and would bless their marriage.

Chris Golledge 3 years, 4 months ago

Why do you think you know God's will any more than the rest of us?

John Sickels 3 years, 4 months ago

I have been married for 22 happy years and the fact that gay people want to get married too HONORS what my wife and I have accomplished. It is no threat to it and does not harm our relationship in anyway!!!

Gay marriage honors all the successful straight marriages. Hopefully, in a few years, the whole phrase "gay marriage" will be obsolete and it will just be marriage.

Clark Coan 3 years, 4 months ago

So, I guess this means that the marriage in Mass. of a second cousin of mine to her partner will now be recognized in the Sunflower State. I don't see why they shouldn't receive the same benefits and rights other married couples enjoy.

However, no Christian pastor should perform any same-sex marriage ceremony. Jesus Christ clearly said that marriage is between a man and woman and He is the highest authority. There are some non-Christian churches with pastors such as Unitarian Universalist, Unity, Baha'i, and Universal Life who can perform such ceremonies.

Kendra Smith 3 years, 4 months ago

I do not believe it is up to you to decide how each Christian Pastor reads the scripture. They will decide. It is the beauty of America.

Melinda Henderson 3 years, 4 months ago

Can you quote the scripture for me? I don't have a concordance handy. Thanks.

Chris Golledge 3 years, 4 months ago

And the Episcopalians, who happen to be Christian.

Kevin Elliott 3 years, 4 months ago

Clark, the church does NOT answer to you. Not all churches are filled with your bigotry, hate and abuse of the Bible.

United Church of Christ Jewish Quaker Metropolitan Community Church Unitarian Unity Church Episcopal Church Lutheran church American Baptist Church Presbyterian

All, in some form or another, permit or bless gay marriages.

I thank God that all Christians are not as filled with hate, judgement and bigotry as you are.

Jonathan Becker 3 years, 4 months ago

What is the difference between a "true Christian" and a Christian? Is there some kind of double secret probation or secret handshake to be a "true Christian? M. Lindeman, please explain the difference and distinguish a "true Christian" from a Christian who is true.

John Kyle 3 years, 4 months ago

How funny! You don't even realize that YOU are the one trolling here with a social agenda!

Jim Slade 3 years, 4 months ago

So wait-- you want people to be tolerant of your intolerance and bigotry to the point that other's are denied equal protection under the law?

Kendra Smith 3 years, 4 months ago

Shhh... He is the victim here. We are oppressing his oppression.

Ralph Reed 3 years, 4 months ago

Actually Andy, it's two things. It's a marriage, the joining together of two people who love each other. and It's a contract sanctified by the government declaring those two next of kin and affording them all the rights and privileges of that declaration. That means something as simple as being able to visit your spouse in the hospital and find out their prognosis. Imagine if your spouse were in ICU and you were barred from visiting or even finding out her/his condition because of the lack of a government sanctified contract. How devastated would you be in that case?

Now, in response to your question, "But, what the heck is going on with the guy who wants someone in government blessing their living with a domestic partner?" Ask your spouse that question and see what kind of reaction you get.

Doris Carman 3 years, 4 months ago

That has always been the worst arguement for this problem.I am not married to my significant other but he and I (I am female) have been together 18 yrs. and he and I have both been hospitalized with no problem visiting and getting diagnosis. In fact you usually fill out papers specifying who gets info. Visiting has never been a problem for anyone during visiting hours. So get real.

Lawrence Freeman 3 years, 4 months ago

Doris, once a man and woman live together 5(?) years, you are married by common law.

Terry Snell II 3 years, 4 months ago

Our wonderful U.S. Supreme Court. I should say, "International Supreme Court." We just keep chipping away at a great Nation turning it into country with No God or morals. 7 Justices don't speak for me. Gay marriage is not a right but an agenda you agree with or your attacked or labeled a racist, religious nut, and risk losing your careers. We will regret this day cause the doors are open now for the next agenda, one man and one animal, one brother and one sister, 2 men and one woman....its coming! I have to go now and wonder how to explain this to my child. Never mind you all already infiltrated the schools and now the courts. The Federal Government is out of control.Keep fighting Kansas, not because we hate, because its morally right.

Jim Slade 3 years, 4 months ago

So two people shouldn't be able to get married because you're too lazy to talk to your kid about love?

Animals cannot enter into a legally binding contract, which a marriage is. Neither can children or toasters (before you bring that up).

I have no qualms with plural marriage nor incestuous ones as long as it's not one where there was undue influence.

Greg Cooper 3 years, 4 months ago

Terry, you and I spent considerable hours a few days ago talking about this very issue and it was pointed out to you in multiple ways and multiple times by multiple people that your interpretation of gay marriage equates quite strongly with the civil rights movement and subsequent statutes making everyone equal in the eyes of the law, absent their breaking of the laws of the land. Now, you will never, ever turn the other cheek to this issue, but I sincerely wish you'd stop with the drivel and inadequate, false scenarios you bring up. People who love people are the luckiest people in the world, it's been said, and you have no right to make them feel less happy with their legal choices than you have to murder your next door neighbor. Stop lying to yourself, stop trying to intertwine meaningless issues with this one, and get on with your heterosexual life, because the "gay agenda" has nothing to do with you and will cause you, yours, the nation and the world no harm in and of itself. I'm sincerely sorry for your paranoia.

Kendra Smith 3 years, 4 months ago

First off Separation of Church and State was brought to you today by The Bill of Rights. Yay! I have some great news for you, your child will surprisingly be just fine. I have an eight year old brother who understands it, but he doesn't care because he is 8. 20ish years ago I understood it without my parents explaining it to me. Your kid will only think it is wrong because you tell them it is.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, Terry Snell, you have raised a lot of questions. And a lot of crazy what-ifs.

"God",(who or whatever that is) is not president. Religion is the choice of individuals and people like you who seem to think we should knuckle down to some religious fantasy really make me sick. It is not required by any legal system I know of.

As I have said and been chastised for, if civil rights had not been pursued by the courts, if popular opinions had prevailed, we would still be seeing signs stating "White people only" ( I am old enough to remember them at the door of the swimming pool), separate water fountains, toilets and separate waiting rooms in railroad depots. That was the way it was in the 1960's. It has been scrapped in most places except the most virulent backwards communities, that black folks have rights the same as everyone else. Just what the hell is racist about that opinion??

Bottom line. It is dangerous to leave some topics to the vote of the great unwashed, otherwise we would still have segregation, state religion, insane asylums for "different" people and ,many, many other past scourges of history.

Kevin Elliott 3 years, 4 months ago

Let me be very clear.

There is NO difference between racism and homophobia. They are both just symptoms of the sin of bigotry.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 4 months ago

I found the passage from the Bible that I think certain commentors are writing about. It is about a specific question that the Pharisees asked Jesus and he was replying to that question. We really need to keep this firmly in the context that the question was asked and not start applying it whimsically as we would wish. To be frank all of this remind me of another Bible verse.

"Jesus wept."

"And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (Matthew 19:3-7, ESV)

Phillip Chappuie 3 years, 4 months ago

The simple issue with the discussion Leslie, it that our Constitution forbids government to establish religion. It follows by extension that this can also mean freedom from religion. Thus, all rule of law cannot rely nor hinge on religious dogma or concept to be justified, codified, overturned or otherwise. So all of this bible mumbo jumbo doesn't count in any of the arguments.

Clark Coan 3 years, 4 months ago

"He said to them, “Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’"

--Mathew 19:4,5

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 4 months ago

This is the part that I thought was pertinent to the augument. I was really just trying to be reasonable about this. Jesus said that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of peoples heart. Again you have to put this in the context of the times. Women were bound to their husbands, they had no money, no where to go if they were divorced, often their families would shun them. It was cruelty to divorce the woman and leave her to such a fate. That is what Jesus was trying to prevent.

"Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

In an ideal situation this would be true. I believe that Jesus would not have turned his back on homosexuals and that they were among the sinners that he talked to and had supper with.The Bible is a book of faith not a history book, and we only read a tiny percentage of the life of Jesus. The rest is open to speculation.

Andy Anderson 3 years, 4 months ago

There are people that need to be sanctified by people in the government to live together. I guess their love revolves around being accepted by people in government. So be it. My domestic partner and I do not hold much stock in the approval of others. Especially those in a conglomerate of government people that think they know what's best for you. As long as you are happy, so am I. It's a magical moment that the government accepts your love!!

Lawrence Freeman 3 years, 4 months ago

Guess I'll put in my two cents worth. Same sex marriage? Different sex marriage? Everyone has the basic right to go to hell in their own way. My definition of religion? A school of "thought" that believes the world and everything in it is too complex to be random events. The practitioners of this line of reasoning makes a leap that because it's so complex, that a supernatural being, all knowing and all powerfull leapt into existence to create it.

Kathy Roberts 3 years, 4 months ago

The country is not responsible for my immortal soul. I am. I came here with it and I leave with it. I'm gay. I have a relationship with God. He told me it was ok. He said He'd sent teachers upon teachers, words upon words and we just keep misunderstanding. He told me that if there were 2 things out of all the volumes written, He wishes we would just remember gratitude and love. You can lose track of those 2 things so easily. I would suggest that if you meet each new idea with gratitude and love, you won't have so much trouble allowing others to make their way in the world. God told me He loves everybody. He is still talking to people today unless their minds are too closed. If your mind is closed, apply love and gratitude. They can reopen.

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