Federal Judge in Kansas Overturns Same Sex Marriage Ban: Implications for Virginia Divorces

Our Virginia divorce attorneys, along with marriage and divorce professionals from around the country, have been tuning into the state of Kansas, where a legal battle has been unfolding over the fate of same sex marriages.

As the nation turned out to vote in the midterm elections, a federal judge in Kansas City cited a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision (Kitchen v. Herbert) to make the case that Kansas’s ban on same sex marriages violates the 14th Amendment. Judge Daniel Crabtree’s decision to strike down the 2005 Kansas Marriage Amendment — which passed by a popular vote by over 70 percent of the population and restricted the definition of marriage to “a civil contract between one man and one woman only” – touched off a flurry of legal activity.

On November 10th, that state’s Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in. Per the Kansas City Star: “Schmidt file[d] a request with [Supreme Court Justice] Sotomayor, [arguing that] without the stay of the lower court order, Kansas and its people would ‘suffer severe harm to their sovereign dignity.’”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor then temporarily blocked same sex marriages from occurring in Kansas, allowing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to respond to Schmidt and potentially paving the way to reinstate same sex marriages at any moment.

The broader point of the story – outside the interesting legal machinations – is that our entire country is caught up in a paroxysm of change regarding same sex marriages. A week ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld bans on same sex marriages in four states across the country, while other Circuit Courts have done just the opposite. Exactly how and when these difficult legal battles over the definition of marriage will ultimately resolve is unclear.
Even the most well-educated and well-informed judges, attorneys and court observers cannot predict the evolution of the law. For instance, the spate of judicial and legislative activity over the past 10 years regarding the same sex marriage issue surprised almost everyone.

If you need help with a divorce or other family law issue, you can trust the dependable Virginia divorce lawyers at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC, to develop a smart strategy to reach your goals. Call us at (703) 370-5555 to schedule a consultation, or explore other resources here at our website.

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