WASHINGTON — As voters in Kansas went to the polls to vote whether to re-elect their statewide officials, as well as Sen. Pat Roberts, a federal judge threw another issue into the middle of the day with a ruling that the states' ban on same-sex couples' marriages is unconstitutional.
Weddings didn't start on Election Day, though, as U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree issued a temporary stay, putting the ruling on hold until 5 p.m. CT Nov. 11 — or at such time as the state and county officials inform the court that they will not be appealing the ruling.
The ruling in Kansas follows the Supreme Court's decision in October to let a lower court ruling stand from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that found Utah's similar ban to be unconstitutional. Because appeals from federal courts in Kansas are heard by the 10th Circuit, that ruling binds federal judges in Kansas.
"Because Kansas' constitution and statutes indeed do what Kitchen forbids," Crabtree wrote, "the Court concludes that Kansas' same-sex marriage ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution."
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is not done yet, saying in a statement that he will appeal Tuesday's ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking an immediate en banc appeal — or, a review by the full appeals court.
The prior decisions in the Utah and Oklahoma marriage cases came from a three-judge panel. The full court will have to vote on whether it wants to consider the en banc appeal once Schmidt requests it.