Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty received national attention for his recent action regarding gay marriage.
He probably also sped up the timetable for a final court decision on whether same-sex marriages will proceed in Kansas.
That’s fitting, because many committed gay couples throughout the state deserve to have the legal status of their situation resolved.
Moriarty last week told the court clerk to issue licenses to allow gay marriages to occur in the state for the first time. He based that administrative order on the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had let stand several lower federal court rulings that said gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.
One of those rulings affected the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Kansas laws.
Predictable reactions came on both sides of the matter.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a challenge to Moriarty’s order, and the state Supreme Court halted it temporarily.
Schmidt says a 2005 vote by Kansans that marriage must be between people of a different sex is still in force — even though similar bans are being struck down by courts across the nation. In addition, the viewpoints of the nation have swung around toward favoring same-sex marriages.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits on behalf of a few gay Kansas couples who had been turned down for marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week.
The courts — either in Topeka or in Washington, D.C. — will issue a final verdict on what will happen to the state’s ban. Moriarty likely hastened that day.