same-sex marriage

Update, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11:

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council voted Thursday to extend city pension benefits currently offered to couples in conventional marriages to legally-married same-sex couples.

“So this is just one more example of our commitment to being inclusive to all of our citizens in Kansas City,” Councilwoman Jan Marcason said before the unanimous vote.

The original post continues below.

The ACLU wants all state agencies in Kansas to recognize same sex marriages. The group is now asking a federal court to make it happen.

The court filing specifically names several state officials, including the secretary of revenue. It says people in same sex relationships have been denied state benefits, like joining their spouse’s health insurance or filing joint taxes.

Thomas Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says the courts have let same sex marriages go forward in Kansas, and that means they should also be recognized by state agencies.

Alan C. / Creative Commons-Flickr

 

The American Civil Liberties Union has broadened its lawsuit over Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriage, seeking to enforce inheritance, driver's license and health insurance rights on behalf of same-sex couples.

The original lawsuit was filed in October by two lesbian couples and sought a ruling that Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. The amended complaint seeks to require state officials to recognize the marriages of couples who were wed in other states as well as in Kansas.  

A federal judge in Missouri has declined to lift the hold on his judgment striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Gay marriage advocates have been gaining key victories all over the country. These successes are part of a larger strategy that's been in the works for years.

On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with the author of a new book about why winning at the state level is a key part of the plan to change laws nationwide. We also check out what's next in the campaign for marriage equality.

Guest:

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A new report ranking Kansas City-area companies on LGBT equality essentially gave the Missouri side a B — and Kansas a C. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Although gay and lesbian couples are getting married in at least 24 Kansas counties, Gov. Sam Brownback won’t allow any state recognition of the unions.

Brownback said Thursday that he won’t offer any of the benefits heterosexual couples get, such as name changes on a driver’s license or employee benefits for gay and lesbian state workers.

“There is still considerable legal ambiguity on the topic of same-sex marriage,” said Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokeswoman. “Once that ambiguity is gone, the governor will direct state agencies to comply with applicable laws.”

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, calls Kansas City, Mo., “a beacon of hope” for the LGBT community.

Kansas City, Kan., however, represents a city “at the opposite end of the spectrum” in terms of LGBT rights, according to a new report.

“The simple reality is LGBT people in Kansas City are living in two completely different worlds divided by a line,” the Washington-based group says in a statement.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Updated at 2:34 p.m.

At least six of Kansas' 105 counties issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Thursday, a day after  the U.S. Supreme Court let take effect an order overturning  a ban state officials had feverishly hoped to keep in place.

Same-sex marriages will be allowed to go forward in Kansas.

That comes after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wednesday not to block the marriages while a lawsuit over the issue waits before an appeals court.

Kerry Wilks, from Wichita, and her partner Donna are parties in the lawsuit. She says she was thrilled to hear the news.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Updated, 5:10 p.m. Friday:

The Jackson County Recorder of Deeds began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday afternoon after a federal judge in Kansas City struck down Missouri's same-sex marriage ban.

Jackson County officials had told couples seeking marriage licenses they would have to wait because the judge's order had been stayed. But  Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders directed the Recorder of Deeds office to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples Friday afternoon.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis City circuit court judge ruled Wednesday that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

"The Court recognizes that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in the history of the United States," St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in his ruling. 

CJ Janovy / KCUR

A federal judge today struck down Kansas’ law and constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, ruling they violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and handing a major victory to same-sex marriage proponents.

CJ Janovy / KCUR

A federal judge on Friday did not rule on a case filed by two gay couples who want marriage licenses in Kansas. One of the couples blamed the state's delay on election-year politics.

The case, originally filed Oct. 10, was heard in open court by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, who did not say when he would announce a decision.  The couples are seeking marriage licenses, which would, in effect, overturn the Kansas gay marriage ban.

Johnson County District Court

The Johnson County, Kan., judge who approved the issuing of marriage licenses for same-sex couples is now the subject of a recall.

Bruce Baumgardner, a physiology professor at Johnson County Community College, on Friday announced that he is trying to oust Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty by urging people to vote against him in the November election, according to the Kansas City Star.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

As public opinion changes and support for same-sex marriage increases across the United States, we reached out to Kansas Citians to see whether their views had taken a turn.

Our curiosity comes as the state of Kansas is making moves toward and away from making gay unions legal in the Sunflower State.  

There's been a lot of ambiguity in the laws surrounding same-sex marriage in Kansas, with Johnson County clerks first given a green light to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and then swiftly given the red light in short order. So how do couples evaluate their options while the state is in limbo? And what's happening in the courts right now? 

Guests:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas appears to be close to filing a lawsuit aimed at overturning the Kansas ban on same sex marriage. The suit could come as soon as next week.

Johnson County, Kansas, has attracted a lot of attention after a judge there ordered workers to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. But Doug Bonney, with the ACLU of Kansas, says it doesn't look like other counties are following suit.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 4:40 p.m. CST: Merriam, Kan., residents Margo Lauer and Sheila Hafner held a commitment ceremony at Unity Church of Overland Park 11 years ago.

They took the first step toward making their union legal in Kansas Thursday morning, applying for a marriage license at the Johnson County Courthouse.

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

The chief judge of the 10th Judicial District in Johnson County, Kan., has ordered clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court left in place appeals court decisions that overturned same sex marriage bans in five states. Some people believe that means all the states in those legal jurisdictions should now start allowing same sex marriages, including Kansas.

But, state officials aren't giving up on the same sex marriage ban. At some local courthouses in Kansas, workers have blocked same sex couples from applying for a marriage license. Some other courthouses have let couples apply, but those applications haven't yet been approved.

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Jackson County will not fight a challenge to Missouri’s gay marriage ban because it discriminates against same-sex couples, the county’s top executive said Monday.

Last week the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of two Kansas City, Mo., couples who were denied marriage licenses.

Alan C. / Flickr-CC

Kansas' constitutional ban on gay marriage hasn't stopped same-sex couples from getting divorced in Douglas County.  

On Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sat down with David Brown, a family lawyer in Lawrence who has personally helped two same-sex couples divorce. 

Brown says that the Kansas state constitution has to do with public policy, not the court's legal recognition of gay marriage.

Jose Antonio Navas / Flickr-CC

What happens if things go sour for a married gay couple? Many Kansas counties would dismiss any divorce cases without hearing them, but not Douglas County.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, we examine how its policy is different and take a look at other new developments affecting the local LGBT community.

Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.

While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.

City officials in St. Louis mounted a challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday when they allowed four gay couples to wed at City Hall.

But on the other side of the state, it's unlikely Kansas City Mayor Sly James will follow suit. James tweeted Thursday that due to differences in the two cities' charters, he is unable to issue marriage licenses: 

A proposal before the Kansas City Council Thursday would gather information to expand the employee benefits available for same-sex couples.

One factor prompting the plan is the increasing number of same-sex couples who have legally married in other states. Another is to remain competitive with other states.

Councilman Scott Taylor says the sponsors simply believe it is the right thing to do.

The Missouri Department of Revenue must now accept joint state income tax returns from same-sex married couples, following an executive order issued Thursday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Gov. Nixon says the order is necessary for two reasons – because Missouri law requires married couples who file joint federal tax returns to also file joint state returns, and because of the U.S. Treasury Department’s recent decision to recognize same-sex marriages, even for couples living in states that don’t recognize gay marriage.

A constitutional law professor at Washington University in St. Louis says the US Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act will have little impact on Missouri’s same-sex marriage ban.

Greg Magarian says states make laws about marriage, such as the legal age for marriage and legal benefits. That’s not the territory of the federal government.

Joy, Tears In KC At DOMA Provision Defeat

Jun 26, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

As the Supreme Court has allowed federal benefits to same sex couples married in states where those unions are allowed by law, there is no legal change in Missouri or Kansas.

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