The First Same-Sex Couple to Wed in KS
October 21, 2014
Kelli & Angela • Johnson County, KS
As they wait for Kansas to implement the 10th Circuit ruling in favor of the freedom to marry, Kelli and Angela describe the day they said "I do" in Johnson County, KS.
Editors' Note: On November 5, 2014, United States District Court Judge Daniel D. Crabtree ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Kansas, issuing a preliminary injunction that forbids state officials from enforcing the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in Kansas. Judge Crabtree placed the ruling on hold until November 11 at 5:00pm. The state has said it will pursue an en banc hearing from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has already ruled in two separate cases that laws banning marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional.
Friday, October 10 was a whirlwind day for Kelli and Angela. Right after 8 am, they received a marriage license in Johnson County, Kansas, marking a historic milestone as one of the first same-sex couples to wed in Kansas.
With their marriage license in hand, they began a wedding ceremony attended by Kelli’s mother, a family friend, and Kelli and Angela’s children. The ceremony was officiated by a Unitarian Universalist pastor. Five minutes later, they kissed, exchanged rings, and were legally – and ecstatically – wed.
The happy day was made possible thanks to a administrative order from Johnson County officials who correctly interpreted the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and ruled that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The order has since been vacated, with a stay on marriage licenses being issued to same-sex couples as the case is reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court, but it marked a huge step forward in KS, and for the country. And it signaled hope that soon, Kansas will be the 33rd state with the freedom to marry.
Although the process was a short one that day, it has been a long wait for the couple. “We’ve just been waiting for Kansas to get on board with marriage equality,” Angela said. “This is our home state. This is where we live. This is where we pay our taxes. This is where we raise our children.”
That’s why the couple is hoping that soon, Kansas fully implements the 10th Circuit ruling that took effect on October 6, 2014 and establishes the freedom to marry once and for all in the state.
Kelli and Angela’s nuptials – and the huge momentum for marriage over the past few weeks nationwide – were followed by a new federal case being filed, too: On October 10, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a case in federal court on behalf of two same-sex couples who attempted to get marriage licenses but were denied after Kelli and Angela were issued theirs.
Kelli and Angela cheer on these couples and continue to urge Kansas to respect marriage between same-sex couples. “While it is an honor to be the first couple to marry, we are looking forward to no longer being the only couple to marry,” Kelli said. And, on behalf of all couples, they understand that their marriage is just like anyone else’s. “We are hoping that this is a good opportunity for everyone in Kansas to see that we are a normal, regular family.”