How SCOTUS ruling impacts judges, state employees

WICHITA, Kansas – – The U.S. Supreme Courts decision Friday makes it legal and constitutional for same-sex couples to get married inn all fifty states.

The ruling wipes away a states right to ban same-sex marriage.

Chief Judge James Fleetwood, of the 18th Judicial District Court says the ruling doesn’t have much of an impact on Sedgwick County.

The county has been performing same-sex weddings and issuing marriage licenses under a federal circuit court ruling that was handed down last November.

KSN asked Fleetwood with Friday’s ruling, would judges be required to perform same-sex marriages.

“Here in Kansas, judges are permitted to do weddings, they’re not obligated to do weddings,” said Fleetwood.

Fleetwood says this has always been the norm and also applies to judges who perform marriages between heterosexual couples.

Friday’s ruling has also sparked the question whether state employees can refuse to sign off on, or issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kevin Kerns, a lawyer with Ariagno, Kerns, Mank and White in Wichita interprets the ruling this way.

“What you don’t have is state employees right to refuse to process a marriage certificate or refuse to sign a marriage certificate, or to issue a  marriage certificate, no you don’t get to do that,” said Kerns.

Kerns adds those who don’t comply could face consequences.

“Get fired number one, number two get sued, those are the easy ones off the top of my head, you don’t get to impose your morality on anyone else,” said Kerns.

Judge Fleetwood says other counties will also now have to adjust to comply with the supreme courts ruling.

“Other courts either are now or will begin functioning in the same fashion that we are across the state,” said Fleetwood.

The U.S. Supreme Courts ruling hasn’t been met with rave reviews by some Kansas legislators

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle spoke out this afternoon, expressing disappointment over the decision.

Wagle says this will require legislators to examine state laws protecting religious freedom.

Wagle adds this is make sure Kansas residents who personally oppose gay marriage aren’t required to perform same-sex weddings or participate in them.

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