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Same-Sex Couples Apply For Marriage Licenses In Johnson County

Elle Moxley

Updated, 4:40 p.m. CST: Merriam, Kan., residents Margo Lauer and Sheila Hafner held a commitment ceremony at Unity Church of Overland Park 11 years ago.

They took the first step toward making their union legal in Kansas Thursday morning, applying for a marriage license at the Johnson County Courthouse.

Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty ordered clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples late Wednesday. Couples in Kansas must wait three days to wed after applying for a license.

"I hope they don't repeal it, and I hope we can go through with it and it's legalized not only here but recognized throughout the state and other states," say Lauer, who could marry Hafner as early as Tuesday.

Lauer, who is originally from California, says she was able to attend a nephew's same-sex wedding there last year, but she thought it would take longer for a decision to come down in Kansas.

In making his decision, Moriarty cited recent decisions by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down same-sex marriage bans in Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah. The 10th Circuit also includes Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming.

"Our friends at work decided we should have a, 'we make it legal' party," says Lauer.

"A, 'You're finally legal' party," Hafner jumps in.

"So we might. We might have another party. We're not sure yet," says Lauer.

Hafner and Lauer were among the 37 same-sex couples who applied for marriage licenses in Johnson County Wednesday and Thursday.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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