The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday
paved the way for the state's most populous county, Johnson County,
to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
The high court also said it would defer
to the federal courts on whether the state's ban on gay marriage is
On November 4, U.S. District Judge
Daniel Crabtree struck down the ban, saying it violates the
Fourteenth Amendment. After the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Denver refused the state's request to stay Crabtree's decision
pending an appeal, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt turned to
the Supreme Court, which also turned down a similar request.
Johnson County started taking marriage
license applications from gay couples in October, but the state
Supreme Court ordered it to temporarily stop.
A defiant Schmidt said in a statement
that he would continue defending the state's ban in court.
“Because a provision in the Kansas
Constitution is at peril, the state of Kansas will continue its
defense in federal court as long as a defense is properly available,”
Schmidt has argued that Crabtree's
order only applies to the two counties named in the lawsuit, Douglas
and Sedgwick counties. The Kansas Supreme Court said the decision
“is not as localized as the State argues” but declined to say
whether it applies statewide.
Marriage licenses are currently being
issued to gay couples in only a handful of counties in Kansas.