U.S. Supreme Court Clears Gay Marriage to Start in Kansas

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared Kansas to become the 33rd state with same-sex marriage, turning away a bid by state officials who sought to stop the weddings while a legal fight plays out.

The action comes as both sides in the fast-moving battle prepare for the possibility that the court will take up the issue next year and consider legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Today’s rebuff, which came without explanation, tracks similar Supreme Court orders that let gay marriage start in Idaho and Alaska in recent weeks. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the request and blocked gay marriages in Kansas.

Kansas officials, including Attorney General Derek Schmidt, argued that weddings shouldn’t go forward given the likelihood that the high court will soon decide the issue. Prospects for Supreme Court review increased last week when a federal appeals court in Cincinnati became the first appellate panel to rule against marriage rights.

The Supreme Court sidestepped the issue last month, leaving intact decisions backing marriage from three federal appeals courts, including one with jurisdiction over Kansas.

Kansas officials argued that they shouldn’t be bound by the appellate ruling. Federal judges at two levels disagreed, saying marriages could begin.

The case acted on today is Moser v. Marie, 14A503.

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