THE BLOG
10/20/2014 05:23 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Some State Officials Are Still Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses

Despite clear signals from the Supreme Court that it's unconstitutional to withhold marriage licenses from gay and lesbian couples, officials in at least two states are continuing to enforce marriage bans.

South Carolina and Kansas are both covered by district court rulings that overturned marriage bans. In South Carolina's case, the ruling was in a case that originated in neighboring Virginia; and for Kansas, the cases came from Utah and Oklahoma. Even though those cases referred to marriage bans in other states, the decisions apply broadly to other states in the same circuit.

The situation in both states is complicated. Initially, some Kansas officials instructed counties to issue licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower court decisions overturning bans in Utah and Oklahoma. But then the Kansas Supreme Court put those orders on hold, pending a hearing on November 6.

Similarly, a few clerks issued licenses in South Carolina after the U.S. Supreme Court decision. But then further marriages were put on hold, pending further briefs and possible oral argument sometime after next month.

Gay and lesbian couples are fighting back in both states, filing suits against state officials. With the intense focus that the latest Supreme Court decision has brought to marriage in conservative states, we're likely to see a resolution in both states within the next few weeks, and marriage starting not long after.