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Kansas AG Drops Legal Challenge To Same-Sex Marriage

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has withdrawn his challenge to same-sex marriage in the state, dismissing his lawsuit against a Johnson County judge who directed clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Schmidt’s move follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Schmidt on Tuesday filed a notice of dismissal of his lawsuit with the Kansas Supreme Court. The two-page document, citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v.Hodges, said the action was now moot.

Schmidt sued Johnson County Chief District Judge Kevin P. Moriarty in October hours after Moriarty issued his order to Johnson County court clerks. Moriarty did so two days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intercede in five cases in which federal courts had struck down gay marriage bans in five states.

Schmidt’s lawsuit asked the Kansas Supreme Court to find that Moriarty exceeded his authority and to sanction him. In November, the court allowed Johnson County to issue marriage licenses to gay couples but declined to address whether the state’s gay marriage ban – enshrined in statutes and an amendment to the Kansas Constitution – violated the U.S. Constitution.

Although Kansas has now dropped its challenge to same-sex marriage, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU over Kansas’ constitutional same-sex marriage ban remains pending in federal court.

Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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