The Westboro Baptist Church has been denied a chance to intervene in the fight to end the ban on same-sex marriage in Kansas. The church will be allowed instead to file a “friends of the court” document with any information they think is relevant in the case.
According to the Washington Blade, a judge denied the motion by the Westboro Baptists on Friday, saying the group hadn’t shown that they had anything to add to the case.
On Tuesday, a Federal judge ruled that enforcing the state’s marriage ban was unconstitutional, but placed a stay on the order while the state appeals it, according to Equality on Trial. The Appeals Court that will hear the matter is the same one that struck down bans in Oklahoma and Utah.
The Westboro Baptist Church filed a request to intervene in the case, but, according to U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, they failed to show that they had an objective that was any different from that of the defendants in the case.
“[B]oth seek to uphold Kansas’ constitutional and statutory prohibitions against same-sex marriage.”
In his ruling, the judge explained this shared goal suggested that the position of the Westboro Baptists was already adequately represented, though the Church maintained that the State could not properly represent its interests.
Fred Phelps Jr., the oldest son of the notorious founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, called on Twitter for an appeal to the Supreme Court, though in the context, it’s not clear whether he meant that the ruling itself should be appealed, or the refusal to allow his intervention.
— Fred Phelps, Jr. (@WBCFredJr) November 8, 2014
The Church has been invited, instead, to file a Friends of the Court document, which would allow them to submit any information they think might influence the Appeals Court judge’s decision, and that might not otherwise be brought to his attention.
The matter may indeed make it to the Supreme Court again. Though the Justices refused to hear marriage cases earlier this year, an Ohio court’s ruling permitted four states to reinstate their bans, according to CNN.
It’s unlikely that the Westboro Baptist Church would be able to get a different opinion, at any level, allowing them to intervene, but many church members are legal experts, and it is not unlikely that they will put their skills to use in further attempts.
[photo credit: Ross Catrow]