Gay marriage licenses allowed in Johnson County - KCTV5 News

Gay marriage licenses allowed in Johnson County

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Angela and Kelli were the first same-sex couple to pick up their application in Johnson County. Angela and Kelli were the first same-sex couple to pick up their application in Johnson County.
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JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV/AP) -

The first same-sex marriage license applications have been accepted and are expected to be approved by the District Court of Johnson County, KS.

This comes after Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty ordered the district court clerk to issue marriage licenses to all people. Moriarty spoke with KCTV5 off camera and said this was solely his decision. He said that not all judges agree with him, but he believes it's the lawful thing to do.

The order by Moriarty said “In the interest of justice and to avoid the uncertainty that has arisen in light of recent federal court rulings about the constitutionality of state constitutional and/or statutory prohibitions against marriage by same-sex individuals, the clerk of the district court is hereby directed to issue marriage licenses to all individuals, including same-sex individuals, provided they are otherwise qualified to marry.”

Right away some same-sex couples already began taking the first steps. Wednesday afternoon at least two same-sex couples arrived at the Johnson County Court House in Olathe to get their marriage license applications. Both said they have been waiting years for this day to come.

A couple who only wished to go by their first names, Angela and Kelli, were the first in Johnson County to get their application. They said they've been living together for three years and are raising children together.

"Very exciting. I'm very excited to be with Angela and have our family be recognized as any other regular family,” Kelli said.

They commended Moriarty's decision.

“I really applaud his bravery to stand up to Gov. Brownback, I don't agree with his opinion and I don't think he's being realistic or supportive of all Kansas families and citizens…so I'm glad that this judge decided go with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to support all families,” Kelli said.

This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions. Without comment on Monday, the nation's highest court brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states - Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The court's order effectively makes gay marriage legal in 30 states.

The decision was expected to clear the way for the expansion of same-sex marriages to Kansas.

"Marriage equality is coming to Kansas," said Thomas Witt, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas. "It may not be this morning, but it may be another morning very soon."

But changes were not made directly after the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Days later, many officials were not yet instituting same-sex marriage, saying they think there's still gray area.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt noted that no court has yet squarely decided whether the Kansas Constitution's prohibition is invalid and said that the state will deal with any litigation when it comes. KCTV5 reached out to the attorney general's office for their reaction to Moriarty's decision, but haven't heard back.

On Tuesday Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said the state should defend the ban on same-sex marriages that voters approved.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has territorial jurisdiction over the six states of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

Those who filled out applications on Wednesday won't know if their application was accepted for another three days. Even if it isn't, they say this is just one more step in the fight for equality.

Click here to read the full District Court of Johnson County's ruling.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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