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Gay marriage rulings get mixed review in Kansas

6/27/2013

TOPEKA (AP) -- Gay-marriage supporters in Kansas were celebrating a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday as Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp vowed to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, that denies federal benefits to legally married gay couples. It also cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California, though the high court said nothing about gay marriage bans in other states.

Kansas voters overwhelmingly adopted a constitutional amendment in 2005 defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The Kansas Family Policy Council, a conservative Wichita-based group, stressed the state's gay-marriage ban is not affected by the rulings. In a statement, the organization vowed to "continue to emphasize and strengthen marriage and work to defend marriage."

Rallies in celebration of the court rulings were planned across the state by the Kansas Equality Coalition, though the organization stressed its fight wasn't over.

"While this is a great day for many couples and families, Kansas and 36 other states still treat gay and lesbian Americans and their children as second-class citizens," Tom Witt, the organization's executive director, said in a written statement.

"We insist that Congress take the next step: Repeal that part of DOMA that continues to allow states like Kansas to ignore same-sex marriages performed in other states, such as Iowa and Minnesota. Should Congress fail to act, we hope the courts will once again step in to guarantee fair treatment for all Americans."

Huelskamp, R-Fowler, blasted the Supreme Court in a statement posted on his website and vowed to pursue a constitutional amendment.

"Five activist justices have short-circuited the democratic process," he said, then added later: "This radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority will not end the debate over marriage in this country. Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions."