As voters headed to the polls for Election 2014, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled against the ban on same-sex marriage in Kansas.
In a 38-page decision, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, an Obama appointee, issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement on Kansas law prohibiting of marriage rights for same-sex couples. The injunction is warranted, Crabtree writes, because of legal precedent and because state officials defending the law haven’t made a sufficient case they would prevail in court.
“Because Kansas’ constitution and statutes indeed do what Kitchen forbids, the Court concludes that Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution,” Crabtree writes. “Accordingly, the Court grants plaintiffs’ request for preliminary relief and enters the injunction described at the end of this Order.”
A temporary stay was included as part of the decision, so same-sex couples won’t be able to wed in Kansas until 5 pm Central Time on Nov. 11, unless the state informs the court sooner it won’t seek review before the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The litigation filed before the court was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas to compel the circuit to confirm to judicial precedent enacted the Tenth Circuit rulings against same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma, which lie within the same circuit as Kansas.
According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, the ruling opens to door to marriage for an an estimated 4,009 cohabiting same-sex couples in Kansas. An estimated 22 percent of these couples are raising nearly 1,750 children in their homes.
The decision comes on the heels of a hearing on Friday on the matter of issuing a preliminary injunction in the case. According to the Associated Press, the state urged the judge not to block the state from enforcing the ban until a decision from the Kansas Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hold hearings on a related case on Nov. 6, but the ACLU maintained further delay would harm same-sex couples in Kansas. At the conclusion of the hearing, Crabtree said he would decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction in the case “as quickly as we can.”
Kansas prohibition on marriage rights for same-sex couples, known as Kansas Proposed Amendment 1, was ratified at the ballot as part of the state constitution by 70 percent of the vote. Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt defended the law in court against litigation and campaigned on those efforts ahead of Election Day in Kansas.
In a statement, Schmidt pledged to appeal the decision on an expedited basis for an en banc hearing before the Tenth Circuit.
“The State of Kansas continues to have a strong interest in the orderly and final determination of the constitutionality of its prohibitions on same-sex marriage,” Schmidt said. “The state defendants will promptly appeal this decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and will ask for consideration by the full Circuit Court. Such a request for en banc consideration was not previously made by either Utah or Oklahoma when their cases were heard by a three-judge panel of the appellate court.”