The Freedom to Marry in Kansas

Winning Marriage: June 26, 2015

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide on June 26, 2015, allowing all same-sex couples in Kansas the ability to marry once and for all. The decision followed more than a year of marriage litigation in Kansas, and legal weddings for same-sex couples in many of the counties in the state.

History and the Path to Victory:

  • April 11, 1996: The Kansas Legislature passes a state statute restricting marriage to different-sex couples.
  • April 5, 2005: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Kansas push through Kansas Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and any other legal family status. The amendment cements clearly discriminatory language into the Kansas Constitution.
  • 2005-2014: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Kansas take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • February 2014: Polling in Kansas tracks marked growth in support for the freedom to marry, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • October 6, 2014: The United States Supreme Court denies review of two federal legal cases in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Utah and Oklahoma is unconstitutional. The ruling creates a binding precedent throughout the circuit, including in Kansas.
  • October 10, 2014: Same-sex couples and American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas file a federal legal case seeking the freedom to marry in Kansas, Marie v. Moser, citing that Kansas is bound by the precedent established by the 10th Circuit. Read the initial complaint. 
  • November 4, 2015: U.S. District Judge Crabtree issues a preliminary injunction and rules in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state's ban on marriage between same-sex couples. Read the ruling.
  • November 12, 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request for stay in Marie v. Moser. Several Kansas counties begin issuing marriage licenses, and same-sex couples are free to marry in many parts of the state. However, some counties continue to defy the earlier ruling.
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country.

Groups That Actively Worked on Marriage

  • Kansas Equality Coalition is a unified statewide group of fair-minded people who are determined to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The ACLU of Kansas is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, committed to standing up for equality for all Kansans. The ACLU of Kansas served as counsel in Marie v. Moser.
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

Number of Same-sex Couples

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 4,009 same-sex couples are living in Kansas, representing 3.6 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.