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WICHITA, Kansas – It’s the announcement Thomas Witt says he’s waited 10 years to hear.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down two rulings.
One that will now allow federal benefits to married gay couples.
The other allowing gay marriages in California.
“I don’t think there were any tears except those of tears and joy all morning long everybody in the community is ecstatic with the rulings today,” said Thomas Witt, Executive Director of the Kansas Equality Coalition.
But not all are praising the ruling.
Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp says the decision will hit children the hardest.
“This decision, the courts have allowed the desires of adults to trump the needs of children. Every child deserves a mommy and a daddy and with this decision they undercut the needs of our children,” he said.
Both sides are now asking what this ruling means for our state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 2005.
Rick Levy, a constitutional law professor at the University of Kansas, says officially it means nothing for the sunflower state.
“There’s another part of DOMA which is another provision that says that states don’t have to recognize same-sex marriages that were approved by other states.”
However, Levy also believes this decision opens the door for same-sex couples to challenge the state’s refusal, similar to what happened in California.
For Witt, the decision is one step in the right direction but he says Kansas has a long way to go.
“Here in Kansas it is still legal to fire somebody for being gay, it is still legal to evict somebody for being a lesbian, it is still legal to refuse to serve somebody at a restaurant if you don’t like the fact that they are sitting too close to or holding hands,” said Witt.
Huelskamp and other conservative colleagues plan to challenge the Supreme Court’s action by introducing the Federal Marriage Amendment in Congress later this week.