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Kansas Equality Coalition of Wichita and Sedgwick County
Formerly Equality Kansas, the Wichita and Sedgwick County chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition was founded in April of 2004 to give a voice to the needs, causes, concerns, and rights of the GLBT community. Please join us in our efforts to further the rights of our community in this critical time.
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Address
6505 E. Central PMB 219
Wichita, KS 67206
Phone
316-260-4863
Executive Committee Members
Chair Patrick Munz
Vice-Chair Thomas Witt
Treasurer Kerry Wilks
Secretary Katelyn Delvaux
About Our Chapter
Formerly Equality Kansas, the Wichita and Sedgwick County chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition was founded in April of 2004 to give a voice to the needs, causes, concerns, and rights of the GLBT community. Please join us in our efforts to further the rights of our community in this critical time.

We are fighting discrimination that prevents gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons from enjoying the rights that every free American is entitled to in whatever ways we can find, including:

  • Raising awareness about discrimination in our community
  • Educating voters about key political issues effecting our mission
  • Forming alliances with other organizations to strengthen our cause
  • Providing regular social settings to unite area GLBTs and their allies

Based in Wichita, our efforts are focused in Sedgwick, Harvey, Reno, Butler and Sumner counties.

Wichita News & Events

Greetings all -

Judge Crabtree has set a hearing in the ACLU's challenge to the marriage ban for Friday, October 31, at 2:30pm. The hearing will be at the Federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas.

The ACLU is suing on behalf of two couples, one of which has been active in Equality Kansas leadership for many years. On Friday they will be asking the judge to issue an injunction which would block enforcement of the ban in Kansas.

If we're fortunate, that order could be issued directly from the bench at the hearing, but it's just as likely we're going to have to wait a little longer for marriage equality to come to Kansas. It appears to us that the Attorney General's office is using every delaying tactic possible to keep delaying the inevitable.

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 29 2014, 11:36 am | More Details...]

Just a quick Monday morning update - what we previously reported as a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, October 28, is actually going to be another conference call with the judge and opposing counsel. The purpose of the call is to determine if, when, and where a hearing on the ACLU motion to block Kansas enforcement of the marriage ban will take place.

Also: The Westboro Baptist Church - home of the late Fred Phelps - has filed a motion to intervene in the case. You can read their hate-filled rant here: http://www.washingtonblade.com/content/files/2014/10/244524950-2-14-cv-02518-19-WBC-motion-to-intervene.pdf

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 23 2014, 6:37 pm | More Details...]

As of this writing on the morning of October 23, the marriage issue here in Kansas remains unsettled.

On Monday, October 6, the United States Supreme Court upheld the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings in two cases overturning state bans on marriage equality: Utah and Oklahoma. Both states in the past twelve months had their bans overturned by Federal district courts. You may remember the scenes almost a year ago in Utah of happy couples rushing to get marriage licenses before being blocked by an appeal from their state's Attorney General. Both states lost their appeals to the 10th Circuit - in June, Utah's ban was again ruled unconstitutional, followed by Oklahoma's a couple of weeks later.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 23 2014, 10:31 am | More Details...]

The march to full marriage equality progresses.

Here's a quick timeline of last week's fast-moving events. Be sure to read through to the end - there's some great info there!

MONDAY:

- The US Supreme Court let stand summer rulings in Utah and Oklahoma that invalidated those states' bans on same sex marriage.

- The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted their stay on their June and July rulings.

- Since Kansas is in the 10th Circuit, their rulings apply here. With that, Equality Kansas members went to their selected county courthouses to apply for marriage licenses. All were denied the right to apply.

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 15 2014, 9:53 am | More Details...]

Just a short while ago, in a three-page order, Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss ordered the Johnson County District Court to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

He has set a hearing on the matter for November 6.

In his order, Justice Nuss directed the Attorney General to be prepared to explain why the 10th Circuit rulings in Kitchen v Herbert and Bishop v Smith don't apply to Kansas.

This is precisely the scenario Governor Brownback and AG Schmidt have been doing everything possible to avoid - if you look at their public statements all this week, you see no mention of their oaths to the United States constitution and their obligation to uphold the rulings of Federal courts. They talk only of the Kansas constitution.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 7:04 pm | More Details...]

The ACLU of Kansas today filed a lawsuit against district court clerks in Douglas and Sedgwick counties for their refusal to issue marriage applications to two same-sex couples, despite the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals lifting its stay on marriage for same-sex couples on Monday. Kansas officials have since attempted to block the issuance of marriage licenses after the first and only couple successfully obtained a marriage license and wed in Johnson County today. The ACLU of Kansas will file a motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order over the weekend and will seek to have it heard promptly next week.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 5:22 pm | More Details...]

This morning, October 10, 2014, Kelli and Angela were married in a brief ceremony at the Johnson County courthouse in Olathe, Kansas. The ceremony was officiated by their pastor, after which they both returned to work.

Kelli and Angela are grateful for the outpouring of congratulations, well-wishes, and support from around our great state and nation. They are celebrating their marriage in a typically Kansan way: Privately, with family and close friends. They ask that we respect their privacy, and they look forward to the day when same-sex marriages are no more newsworthy than any other marriage.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 3:55 pm | More Details...]

If you or someone you know has applied for a marriage license IN JOHNSON COUNTY as a same-sex couple, please email the Equality Kansas office immediately.

We need to talk to you about the legal ramifications of the Attorney General's motion to block your marriage from taking place.

Email witt@eqks.org. Please include the date you applied, and your contact info.

Thanks,

Tom
[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 1:40 pm | More Details...]

In reaction to the breaking news that the Kansas Attorney General is seeking to halt same-sex marriages:

"Sam Brownback and Attorney General Schmidt need to stop playing election year politics with people's lives and allow these legal marriages to proceed. The Federal courts have ruled, and we all know how this will end. Delaying the inevitable is a waste of time and taxpayer money, and a gross injustice to LGBT Kansans and their families."

-- Thomas Witt, Executive Director, Equality Kansas
[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 12:28 pm | More Details...]

Our endorsements were published the same week as the 10th Circuit decision and subsequent rush to courthouses in Kansas. In case you missed it, here again are our endorsements in the upcoming general election.

UDATE: There is an active campaigns against Judge Kevin Moriarty, who issued the first legal marriage license in Kansas. If you live in Johnson County, please VOTE TO RETAIN Judge Moriarty.

And on general principle, we urge you to vote to retain all judges on the ballot. Our courts have been politicized enough by the Sam Brownback and his minions. Judges need to be able to interpret the law without undue political pressure.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 9:59 am | More Details...]

Hi all -

Many questions are now coming in about what to do if you entered into a legal marriage outside of Kansas (such as Iowa, California, or even Canada).

IMPORTANT: If you have legally married in another jurisdiction, DO NOT apply for a Kansas marriage license. You are already married. Applying to marry in Kansas if you have legally married in another jurisdiction is unlawful.

HOWEVER: If you entered into a civil union or domestic partnership, you are not considered married. I believe some state allowed unions/partnerships to be converted to marriages, and if you have taken that step, you are married. Otherwise, you're not, and you should apply for a Kansas marriage license.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 9 2014, 4:31 pm | More Details...]

With those words, Johnson County's chief judge, the Hon. Kevin Moriarty, directed his clerks and 10th District judges to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Kansas 10th Judidical District should not be confused with the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The first is a state court that handles basic Kansas criminal cases, local lawsuits, probate, and so on. The second is the Federal court of appeals, which is the last stop on the road to the US Supreme Court.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 9 2014, 7:06 am | More Details...]

The Hon. Kevin Moriarty, the chief judge of the 10th Judicial District in Johnson County, has just issued an order giving the go-ahead for same sex marriage. From the introduction:

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.

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 8 2014, 3:16 pm | More Details...]

Hi all -

Here's where we are as of this morning - Yesterday afternoon, the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration (they run the state courts) issued guidance to court clerks and judges.

The short version: Be careful, you might get sued.

The longer version:

The guidance essentially says to court clerks "don't argue" with people coming in for marriage license applications. Take the application, and let the chief judge of each district determine eligibility. The OJA also cautioned judges they may get sued no matter what they do with these applications. From the OJA's email:

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 8 2014, 11:53 am | More Details...]

Greetings all -

It's been a busy 28 hours.

Yesterday, Equality Kansas members around the state went to their local county courthouses to apply for marriage licenses. All were denied.

This morning, in what I believe is the first, Julia and Gina went to the Reno County Courthouse in Hutchinson. They were allowed to apply for a marriage license.

The staff of the district court congratulated them, and told them to come back on the 10th, at the end of the three-day waiting period.

[ Posted: Tuesday Oct 7 2014, 12:36 pm | More Details...]

This just in: The United States Supreme Court has just denied certiorari (declined to hear) all current Circuit Court appeals on marriage bans.

This includes the 10th Circuit case in Oklahoma and Utah.

The language of the 10th Circuit case, ruling in favor of marriage equality, states that should the Supreme Court refuse to hear the appeal, the stay on same-sex marriages would be automatically lifted.

Kansas is in the 10th Circuit. This ruling may very well include us. We are talking to our attorneys at this very moment looking for guidance.

[ Posted: Monday Oct 6 2014, 9:09 am | More Details...]

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