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Kansas Supreme Court Clears Way For More Same-Sex Marriages; Defers State Ban To U.S. Supreme Court

The Kansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for more same-sex marriages in Johnson County, but says it will defer to the U.S. Supreme Court on whether Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

The Kansas Supreme Court lifted its hold on licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County yesterday.

Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty had authorized the licenses last month after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases from three federal appeals courts that had overturned same-sex marriage bans.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt then went to court to stop the Johnson County marriages.

The Kansas court said it would hold off on further review of Schmidt's petition until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves the issue.

But, the court also said that Chief Judge Moriarty "was within his jurisdiction" to consider federal court decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans in other states.

The Kansas court also said there's no reason to keep the hold on same-sex marriage licenses in place in Johnson County when the U.S. Supreme Court has authorized them elsewhere in the state.

The attorney general says the U.S. Supreme Court order in the ACLU lawsuit applies only in Douglas County Sedgwick Counties, because no other court clerks were defendants.

When she's not out making lattes in her mobile coffee bus Sunflower Espresso, Kate Hutchens is a fill-in host for KMUW. She has worked in broadcast journalism at KFDI, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and at KMUW as Morning Edition host, which she did until March 2017.
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