Just one day before gay marriage was set to commence in Kansas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor put on hold (pdf) a federal judge’s injunction preventing the state from enforcing its voter-approved ban on same-sex nuptials—in other words, temporarily blocking gay marriages from taking place.
Last Wednesday, Kansas Federal Court Judge Daniel Crabtree overturned the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, striking down the 2005 Kansas Marriage Amendment, approved by 70 percent of voters, that defines marriage as a “civil contract between one man and one woman only” in the Kansas Constitution and declares any other definition of marriage as void.
On Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the Supreme Court to intervene, saying he’s obligated to do so because voters approved the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage. In the 106-page filing (pdf), Schmidt argued that marriage is a state issue in which federal courts should not intervene, and that Crabtree’s ruling had altered “the status quo” because it interfered with the state supreme court’s review.
According to the Kansas City Star, “Schmidt’s office filed the request with Sotomayor, who handles such matters from the 10th Circuit. In the request, Schmidt’s office said that without a stay of the lower-court order, Kansas and its people would ‘suffer severe harm to their sovereign dignity’.”
In response, Sotomayor issued the order temporarily blocking the lower-court’s order from going into effect.
But, she also directed the American Civil Liberties Union to file a response to Schmidt’s request by 4 pm Central time Tuesday, leaving open the possibility that she will reconsider.
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In a post at its website titled “The Roller Coaster Continues,” the Kansas Equality Coalition wrote: “Given that [Tuesday] is a legal holiday and courts across the state and nation will be closed, she’s clearly in a hurry to resolve the Kansas question as quickly as possible. We could very well still have marriages on Wednesday.”
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