U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday issued an order temporarily blocking gay marriage in Kansas, after the state appealed a federal judge’s ruling that was to take effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday, clearing the way for such unions.
Sotomayor’s brief order directed the American Civil Liberties Union to respond by 4 p.m. Tuesday to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s appeal.
For now, gay marriages are barred in Kansas until Sotomayor receives the response from the ACLU and the court renders further judgment in the case.
Tom Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition , said Sotomayor could quickly reconsider once she receives the ACLU’s response.
Schmidt on Monday 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.
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.”
The ACLU filed its lawsuit in federal court last month on behalf of two lesbian couples, one in Douglas County and the other in Sedgwick County, challenging the state’s ban. That lawsuit resulted in the lower-court order.
The Associated Press and The Star’s Brad Cooper contributed to this report.