U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court temporarily blocks same-sex marriage in Kansas

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has temporarily blocked same-sex marriages in Kansas in response to a stay application that cites a newly developed circuit split.

Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, granted the stay Monday evening, the New York Times, the National Law Journal and SCOTUSblog report.

Kansas contends its case is different than others in which the Supreme Court denied cert. The Kansas Supreme Court had stayed same-sex marriage in the state pending proceedings before the court, but a federal judge later ordered the state to begin issuing marriage licenses. The federal judge’s decision was “a de facto circumvention” of the state litigation, the state argued in its emergency stay application (PDF).

“No federal district court has the authority to block an order of a state supreme court, issued to protect its subject matter jurisdiction over a legal dispute,” Kansas argued.

The 10th Circuit has found state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional. The circuit split was created last Thursday when the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld laws banning same-sex marriage.

Sotomayor’s order (PDF) said lawyers for gay couples challenging the ban should file a response by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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