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BREAKING NEWS: IT’S DONE. Just before 4pm, we received confirmation that all judicial districts in Kansas are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Governor Brownback, it’s your turn. It’s time to drop the silly political games and recognize what every chief judge in Kansas has now acknowledged: Marriage equality is the law of the land, including Kansas. Period.
3:30pm June 30 UPDATE: BREAKING: The 25th Judicial District (Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties) has now ordered the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples! Our many thanks go to the judge who was kind enough to call our office with the news. This leaves just one judicial district where we have no confirmation: The 20th, which includes Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties.
2:00pm June 30 UPDATE: BREAKING: We have confirmed the 24th Judicial District, including the counties of Edwards, Hodgeman, Lane, Ness, Pawnee and Rush, is now issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. TWO MORE JUDICIAL DISTRICTS TO GO! We now await the 20th and 25th Judicial Districts to make the right decision.
12:00pm June 30 UPDATE: BREAKING: Minutes ago the chief administrative clerk of the 13th Judicial District, which includes Butler, Greenwood, and Elk counties, called our office to let us know Chief Judge Ricke has just now reversed his earlier ruling banning marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Additionally, in a conversation with the ALCU of Kansas, Chief Judge Pratt of the 17th Judicial District (Decatur, Graham, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, and Smith counties) has said he will order the clerks and judges in his district to issue marriage licenses.
9:30am June 30 UPDATE: The 14th Judicial District, which includes Montgomery and Chautauqua counties, is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We’ll have a final update, along with an updated map, by 4:30pm today.
4pm June 29 UPDATE: The 15th Judicial District, which includes the counties of Cheyenne, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, and Wallace, is now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That brings the total counties to 77. Another step forward for equality!
On Friday, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of full marriage equality for all Americans. Today, however, we still have counties in Kansas where chief judges are refusing to allow marriage licenses to be issued.
Kansas district courts are organized into 31 judicial districts. The most populous counties, such as Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Reno, Wyandotte, and Douglas, are a single judicial district. In more rural counties, a judicial district may include up to six counties. Prior to the ruling, 22 judicial districts, including 61 counties, were granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, three more judicial districts have begun issuing licenses.
That brings us to 69 counties in 25 judicial districts, which includes 2.6 million of our state’s 3 million citizens, where we can legally wed.
We are also hearing from couples who are still unable to change their drivers’ licenses to reflect their legal names, and that they are being told they won’t until a direct order comes from the Kansas state Department of Revenue. We presume that all your other rights associated with your marriage are still being denied by the state, such as marital status on taxes.
As of this writing, the Brownback administration has said nothing since the Governor’s rather terse, angry statement issued Friday. We are doing what we can to find out what the state plans next. With luck, they’ll admit defeat, quit wasting taxpayer money on a lost cause, and let every Kansan enjoy our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
Sadly, we believe our state government will drag this out as long as possible. While we’d certainly like to be wrong, we believe Brownback will hold out until a court order demanding compliance is served on his office. We’ll be pleasantly surprised if we’re wrong, but we’re not holding our breath.
In the meantime, if you live in one of the counties colored blue (or on the list below), go get married! If you live in any of the other counties, you’ll need to either wait, or make the trip to one of the issuing counties to get your license. Once in hand, you may wed in any county in the state, whether that county is issuing licenses or not.
At this point, it’s just a matter of time. We will continue our legal fight in the Federal courts, and hope this comes to a conclusion quickly.