Local communities reaction to same sex marriage in Kansas

WICHITA, Kansas – Here in Sedgwick County there’s definitely a clear divide, even among the churches regarding the issue of same sex marriage.

KSN’s Ashley Arnold sat down with both sides on the issue to see where they plan to go from here.

“When you see a radical judge pull off what he pulled off in Johnson County, I mean that proves our point that the courts are becoming activists,” said Terry Fox of the Summit Church.

It’s just one reaction to Wednesday’s move by a 10th district chief judge in Johnson County to begin issuing same sex marriage licenses.

Now, churches that were active a decade ago in the movement to define marriage as between a man and a woman are preparing to strike again by talking to lawyers to discuss how to begin a legal fight.

“Unfortunately whether we like it or not, the battle has landed in the courts, but what I can promise you is those of us who care about traditional values, we’re not going to just turn the other cheek and say, ‘well you know what, I guess that’s the law so it makes no difference’,” said Fox.

But other Wichita churches say they’re planning their own kind of movement.

“I do believe that those of us who would support same gender marriage will be doing the same thing,” said Kent Little with College Hill United Methodist. “To repeal our current law as well as support the judicial system that’s made the decision at this point.”

Some have pointed to the 2004 vote in which an overwhelming majority of Kansans voted to put the constitutional ban on gay marriage.

But Little points to the current nationwide trend saying it could indicate changes in Kansas.

“Many more people support gay and lesbian marriage, where maybe they didn’t 15, 20 years ago and so I think based on that it’s very possible,” said Little. “It’s probable that even in the state of Kansas that the opinion has shifted.”

The legal fight in this state is far from over.

Here in Sedgwick County, Chief Judge Fleetwood said he is awaiting more information for how to respond to yesterday’s order from Johnson County.

Fleetwood was scheduled to be at meetings in Topeka on Thursday, and KSN hopes to catch up with him tomorrow.

Here in Kansas, we’ve had a ban against same-sex marriage since 2005 and wanted to see if public opinion has changed since then.

The numbers have changed in the past ten years. Overall acceptance of gay marriage is a trend that only goes up with almost 50% in favor, as compared to 2003 where 33%, with Millennials giving the most support.

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