The chief judge in Johnson County, Kansas, has ordered staff to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Johnson County Judge Kevin Moriarty said in his order that Kansas is bound by appeals court rulings overturning similar bans on same sex marriage. He says he issued the order to prevent more confusion after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the matter.
Thomas Witt, with Equality Kansas, hailed the decision and said he expects more counties to follow suit.
He says Kansas could soon have some counties that will and some counties that won't issue licenses to same-sex couples.
“We already have a patchwork of states where we have full marriage equality. That we’re going to end up with a patchwork of counties where we have marriage equality won’t be that surprising, but it won’t last long, either,” says Witt.
This week, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Governor Sam Brownback said the state will defend the constitutional ban on same sex marriage if a lawsuit is filed.
Witt expects a lawsuit will force all Kansas counties to eventually issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.