A federal judge in Kansas took steps on Wednesday to fast track a ruling over a legal challenge to the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, reports AP.
The challenge was raised by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in October, who are acting on behalf of several couples who had previously been refused marriage licenses in the Kansas counties of Sedgwick and Douglas.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree instructed the opposing attorneys in the case to narrow the range of their disputes and to propose a schedule at the end of January for him to hear their respective cases.
As previously reported, Kansas is one state where the battle over same-sex marriage has led to great confusion. Last month we reported how Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, had repeatedly tried to maintain a ban on same-sex marriage, despite a ruling by Crabtree in November striking down the ban.
Subsequently, some Kansas county clerks have issued marriage licenses to gay couples while others have not. However, because of the confusion, those couples who are now married do not enjoy the same state recognition as opposite-sex couples.
Because of this, last month, the ACLU expanded its lawsuit to force the state to recognize the resulting gay marriages so that the couples can enjoy the same legal benefits – including changing a spouse’s name on a driving license and filing joint income tax returns.
In all likelihood, the legal battles are likely to continue until a further Supreme Court ruling due this summer. This fact was acknowledged by Crabtree in his instructions to speed up the hearing, and he specifically pointed out; ‘I won’t be the last judicial officer to consider the case.’