The Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in Kansas — the thirty-third state on the list.
According to ABC News, the nation’s highest court denied the state’s request to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying while Kansas fights the issue in court. The state constitution includes a provision banning gay marriage, approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2005.
A federal district judge last week blocked the state from enforcing its ban, saying it was in keeping with an earlier ruling by a federal appeals court that struck down bans in Oklahoma and Utah.
The judge’s ruling was supposed to go into effect Tuesday, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily put it on hold while the high court reviewed the case.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two lesbian couples denied marriage licenses.
The Westboro Baptist Church has staunchly opposed the introduction of same sex marriages in Kansas but according to the Inquisitr, they were denied a motion to be a part of a lawsuit to challenge the district judge’s ruling which would lift the ban on such marriages.
According to the Supreme Court of the United States Blog, the decision on same-sex marriage in Kansas was released in a brief court order. The report noted that there was no explanation, for the order or by the dissenters.
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were the dissenters.
The legal situation was complicated in Kansas because state Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed his own case with the Kansas Supreme Court, seeking to block marriage licenses for gay couples. The Kansas court blocked further licenses while it reviewed the case and its order is still in effect, making it unclear how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday will be applied in individual counties.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Kansas case came the same day a federal judge struck down South Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, opening the door to such marriages but also giving the state a week to appeal. The attorney general said he would do so immediately.
The Court has issued a series of orders in same-sex marriage cases over the past eleven months, but the Kansas order marked the first time that members of the Court had recorded dissents.
The same-sex marriage order for Kansas issued by the Supreme Court is being hailed as a victory for members of the LGBT community.
[Image via Sydney Morning Herald]