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Johnson County green-lights gay marriage in Kansas; Douglas County to continue denying applicants

Source: 
Lawrence Journal-World
Author: 
Peter Hancock
Date: 
Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"The chief judge of the Johnson County District Court issued an order Wednesday clearing the way for same-sex couples to get married in that county. But a constitutional law professor at Kansas University said it's still not clear that such marriages would be valid under Kansas law.

. . . 

But because the Supreme Court did not directly rule on the issue — it declined to hear the appeals of five similar cases from various judicial circuits — some experts say courts in other states have not been given clear direction on how to proceed.

'If I were advising a client, I would say as much as you want to get married, it might be risky to rely on this (Johnson County) order as the basis for your marriage license,' said Rick Levy, a constitutional law professor at the KU School of Law.

Levy said he doesn't believe it's clear that Judge Moriarty had the legal authority to effectively declare the state constitutional language invalid without a case or controversy before the court challenging that law. And until there is such a ruling, he said, there's always a possibility that any marriages performed in Johnson County pursuant to that order may later be declared invalid.

'Until such time that a valid court order is in place that modifies the (law), there's also no basis for issuing the license,' Levy said."