Why it matters that same-sex marriage is legal in Kansas

After a whole lot of waffling back and forth, the gay marriage ban in Kansas was finally lifted earlier this week! Honestly, that’s huge news.

So what exactly was going on? OK, well, it’s complicated. Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriage was originally struck down and declared unconstitutional by District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree on November 4, with stipulations to hold the ruling until November 11.

However, on November 10, The Supreme Court issued a stay on Crabtree’s order which would have allowed for same-sex marriage in Kansas, beginning on November 11. The temporary block was issued by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in response to appeals from state officials. Ok, so, the Supreme Court said hold up, let’s give this a little time so we can figure it out before people get married.

THEN after several days silence, the Supreme Court denied, and abruptly ended, Sotomayor’s stay on Novemeber 12. According to the court’s Public Information Office, some of the justices were not on board with denying the stay. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas noted on the November 12 order that they would have granted the stay. Neither of the justices gave their reasoning.

So, after a brief pause in the timeline, gay marriage in Kansas may now officially proceed once more, barring any unexpected decisions made by the Supreme Court within the next few weeks. As things stand, there is currently a state-mandated three-day waiting period before most gay couples may actually be married.

There’s still A TON of confusion, however, because the state’s Attorney Governor says it’s his responsibility to uphold a ban on same-sex marriages decided by voters in 2005 and that according to that only two counties in the state should give marriage licenses. The licenses are being given out across the state anyway. The Supreme Court needs to sort that out.

Why is all of this important? Well it shows the continued trend for the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country AND it makes Kansas the 33rd state to recognize same-sex marriage. Also, here’s a handy map from the Human Rights Campaign on where same-sex marriage is legal. Things are turning around.

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