Protester disrupts same-sex marriage ceremony downtown

WICHITA, Kansas – Over a dozen same-sex marriages were performed in Sedgwick County late Monday afternoon on the step of the historic courthouse. As for the ceremony, it was interrupted by a protester chanting, “God says no.” The crowd full of gay rights activists chanted back saying, “God says yes.”

Activists are calling this a big day for the county even though Attorney General Derek Schmidt is still fighting same-sex marriage.

The Kansas Supreme Court is deliberating whether to allow same-sex marriage licenses even as the federal courts have ruled same-sex marriages are allowed in the state. Couples can now get a marriage license, wait three days and get married.

KSN is not showing you some of the faces of the couples because they did not all want to be on camera.

The pastor of the First Metropolitan Community Church officiating the ceremonies explains why.

“They are afraid for their jobs. We live in a right to work state which means you can be fired for cause, any cause. It could be that you are gay,” said Pastor Jackie Carter.

Carter says same-sex marriage is legal right now so she says they are going to marry couples.

She says then the state will have to figure out what it wants to do next.

Many of the couples did agree to be on camera, and talk publicly.

“Today? It means that we have some equality,” said Martin Wilson-Soulzman. “It’s a good start. It’s a new start. It can only go up from here. And that’s why I’m very happy for us and for other couples that took that today.”

Jackie Carter, pastor at the First Metropolitan Community Church of Wichita, is one of the clergy that officiated the mass wedding.

“Legally, we don’t know what comes next from the courts,” said Carter. “We’re just going to go ahead and get married, and then they (State of Kansas) will have to figure out what to do with us.”

One Civil Rights attorney in Wichita said the state supreme court of Kansas will still have a say. But, it’s the federal courts that have been leading the way on same-sex marriage.

“There’s always going to be people who are on the wrong side of history,” says attorney Kurt Kerns. “And this isn’t a religious issue, it’s not a legal issue, it really is a civil rights issue and the arguments are exactly the same.”

For couples that got married, they are not so concerned with the legal issues. They are more concerned with just being married.

“We know people are not all happy about this issue in Kansas,” said Wilson-Soulzman. “But we are happy. Our family is happy. That is what matters.”

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