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Despite SCOTUS Decision, Kansas Holds On To Same-Sex Marriage Ban


Kansas is one of the states that's ridden the effects of the Supreme Court's decision to clear the way for same-sex marriage. The High Court said yesterday that it would let stand lower court rulings that in effect authorize same-sex marriage. Kansas is covered by the Federal Circuit Appeals Court that overturned gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah. And legal authorities say all states in the affected jurisdictions will have to comply with the circuit court orders. But as Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports, officials in Kansas are resisting.

STEPHEN KORANDA, BYLINE: Kerry Wilks from Wichita went with her partner Donna Ditrani to the courthouse hoping to get a marriage license.

KERRY WILKS: When we got there, there were of course a lot of deer-in-the-headlight looks.

KORANDA: She says workers there indicated there would not be marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples.

GOVERNOR SAM BROWNBACK: The state of Kansas voted on this issue. The people of Kansas voted. Nearly 70 percent supported the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. I support that.

KORANDA: That’s Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

BROWNBACK: I think this is just a matter that’s headed to the courts. I think the state of Kansas should defend how the people have spoken and how the people have voted.

KORANDA: The head of the state ACLU says he believes this issue is settled and Kansas should start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But the state's Republican attorney general, Derek Schmidt, says he will defend the ban on same-sex marriage that's in the Kansas Constitution.

DEREK SCHMIDT: Kansas finds itself in a difficult position at this time. Where there has not been a challenge directly to the Kansas Constitutional provision, no court has therefore spoken to the continued viability to that provision.

KORANDA: The ACLU is prepared to challenge the Kansas ban on same-sex marriage with the help of people like Kerry Wilks, who was denied a marriage license.

WILKS: You can't help but feel, I guess, so many emotions. There's anger. There's disappointment. There's the desire to keep going, to persevere, to fight.

KORANDA: And that fight is almost certainly headed back to court. For NPR News, I'm Stephen Koranda in Lawrence, Kansas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Stephen Koranda is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Kansas Public Radio.