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Kansas ignores gay marriage ruling, so ACLU may sue state

TOPEKA, Kansas – Ignoring Monday’s developments from the U.S. Supreme Court, Kansas officials are choosing to defend the red state’s ban on gay marriage. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is looking for gay and lesbian couples who are willing to sue the state for marriage equality.

By refusing to hear an appeal of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma were unconstitutional, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court rulings. Thus the 10th Circuit decision applies to all states under its jurisdiction: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

But embattled Gov. Sam Brownback, a far-right Republican fighting for re-election, said in a statement that he would uphold the state constitution. Voters amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

"An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas," Brownback said.

AG Derek Schmidt, also a Republican, said he was monitoring legal developments.

Monday’s "unexpected and disappointing decision to avoid the issue ensures that an already uncertain legal situation for Kansas and many other states will become even more so. It is likely the Supreme Court eventually will have to decide this question, but until then this delay is sure to generate more litigation and more uncertainty, both for defenders of traditional marriage and for same-sex couples," Schmidt said in a statement.

But the ACLU said it plans to seek a preliminary injunction from the 10th Circuit seeking to block the anti-gay law in Kansas and, if necessary, sue the state for marriage equality.

On Monday, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reported that red states affected by the SCOTUS decision were resisting reality and noted how Kansas clerks turned away gay and lesbians couples who asked for marriage licenses.

States within the 10th Circuit are reacting to Monday’s developments. Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah are complying with the new law of the land. Kansas and Wyoming are resisting. New Mexico lawmakers legalized gay marriage last year.

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Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN and GLBTNN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.