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National and Local Reactions to the SCOTUS Gay Marriage Decision

Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (Photo: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
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3 minute read

Today’s Supreme Court ruling extending the right for gay couples to marry nationally has set off a wave of reactions, including celebrations outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

NPR’s “the two-way” blog is providing regular coverage of the decision and reactions across the nation.

This previous story from Flatland documented the wave of same-sex couples that rushed to obtain marriage licences in Jackson County last November, following a ruling by U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith that Missouri state laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

The Associated Press reports: President Barack Obama says today’s Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide represents a day when justice “arrives like a thunderbolt.” Obama says the court’s decision has “made our union a little more perfect.”

Gay rights supporters cheered, danced and wept outside the court after the decision.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court’s previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996. Today’s ruling comes on the anniversary of two of those earlier decisions.

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, saying the court “is not a legislature.” Also dissenting were Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

The 5-4 decision means that the 14 states that haven’t allowed same-sex marriage will have to stop enforcing their bans.

The ruling won’t necessarily take effect immediately, because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration.

Here are more updates from the Associated Press, outlining the latest reactions in Missouri and Kansas to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriages between same-sex couples:

The latest reaction in Missouri:

10:30 a.m.

(AP): Some Missouri same-sex couples might have to wait to obtain marriage licenses following Friday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize those unions.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday said he’ll take necessary action to implement the ruling throughout the state.

But the court’s ruling won’t take effect immediately. Justices are giving the losing side about three weeks to ask for reconsideration.

Recorders in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since federal and state-level rulings overturned Missouri’s ban on the practice.

But recorders in other counties were hesitant and said those rulings didn’t apply statewide.

Recorders on Friday appeared to be taking a similarly cautious approach as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling was reviewed.

10:45 a.m.

(AP): A Springfield couple who married in Iowa three years ago is celebrating Friday’s ruling.

Amanda Derham and her wife, Lori, who helped start the Springfield chapter of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said they were “beyond words.”

“Our 2-year-old son keeps yelling for cake because he knows it’s a celebration in this house,” Amanda Derham said. “It feels good to know we can be recognized anywhere in the states.”

The Springfield News-Leader reports Bishop James Johnston of the Springfield Catholic Diocese decried the ruling. He said in a statement an essential part of marriage is a physical union that could create new life.

“That is biology, not bigotry,” he wrote. “It is also much more, in that it forms the basis for a healthy, stable culture for raising children to become integrated adults and citizens.”

The latest reactions in Kansas:

10:20 a.m.

(AP): A leading gay rights advocate in Kansas is calling on the state to drop its defense of its ban on gay marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision saying same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the country.

Equality Kansas Executive Director Tom Witt said Friday that he’s hoping Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in his words, “do the right thing.”

An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the state’s gay marriage ban is still pending in federal court, and ACLU attorney Doug Bonney said it could be resolved more quickly if the state would “admit defeat.”

Both Brownback and Schmidt said the state will study the ruling further before making any moves.

Witt said he’s happy about the ruling.

10:10 a.m.

(AP): The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States is expected to also spur a swift final ruling in an ongoing case over the Kansas gay marriage ban.

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing the Kansas couples said Friday the U.S. Supreme Court ruling “means that we win” in the ongoing case in Kansas. The ansas attorney general’s office said it is reviewing that decision and consulting with its clients.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree had previously already issued a preliminary ruling that gay couples could marry in Kansas, but not all counties have been issuing them. He ruled in November that the state couldn’t enforce the ban while the lawsuit was heard.

Crabtree could rule at any time on motions now before him seeking a summary ruling that permanently bars the state from enforcing laws and a voter-approved provision in its constitution banning same-sex marriage.

10:05 a.m.

(AP): Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is decrying the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling declaring that gay couples have a right to marry anywhere in the country.

The Republican governor issued a statement Friday. He has been a strong supporter of the state’s ban on gay marriage. Voters approved an amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 2005 to reinforce that policy.

But the state’s ban is being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed last year, and preliminary rulings allowed counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Most now do.

Brownback said in his statement, “Activist courts should not overrule the people of this state, who have clearly supported the Kansas Constitution’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

He said the state would review the ruling further.


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