In rapid-fire fashion, the welcome march toward allowance and acceptance of same-sex marriages continued this week in Kansas and Missouri. Barriers to these marriages are crumbling across the nation, as they should.
Judicial actions in both states essentially said such bans are unconstitutional because they violate the equal protection rights of gay couples.
Unfortunately, the pair of rulings did not bring final clarity to the matter, further roiled Thursday when a federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld bans in four other states. The U.S. Supreme Court likely will have to resolve this issue in the end.
On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction aimed at preventing Kansas from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriages, approved by voters in 2005. The judge duly noted that a federal appeals court opinion covering Kansas had said such laws were unconstitutional.
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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt promised to appeal before the injunction took effect next week. However, taxpayers should not be forced to expend much money on this cause.
On Wednesday, a St. Louis circuit judge said Missouri’s voter-passed ban on gay marriage from 2004 was unconstitutional. That prompted the city of St. Louis and a few counties to begin issuing marriage licenses. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay deserves great credit for challenging Missouri’s decade-old constitutional amendment. He supported issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in June, which forced Koster to go to court. The judge’s ruling Wednesday brushed aside that challenge.
Previously, Koster correctly had decided not to appeal a Kansas City judge’s ruling that Missouri law must recognize the legal rights of gay couples wed in states or countries where such relationships are lawful. “Missouri’s future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion,” Koster said then.
That’s an excellent outlook on this matter, one that eventually will prevail in Missouri, Kansas and across this great, ever-changing country.