Kansas has officially become the 33rd state to legalize marriage equality.
Without comment, the nation's highest court on Wednesday rejected a request from Kansas officials to extend its temporary hold on a federal ruling that struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban. That ruling was supposed to go into effect on Tuesday, Nov. 11. But on Nov. 10, with just more than 24 hours to go, Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted an emergency request from the state’s Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt for a stay.
It was unclear how long the stay would last. Though the Supreme Court cleared the way last month for marriage equality's expansion to 11 more states, including Kansas, the game changed dramatically with last week's federal appeals court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage bans — the nation's first such decision since the Defense of Marriage Act's demise. That decision, from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, created what's known as a "circuit split," and revived the chances that the Supreme Court would review a marriage equality case this session.
In the past, the justices have kept stays in place pending appeals to marriage equality victories. But Wednesday's action proves that at least in the 10th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Kansas, marriage equality is definitively law of the land.
Unsurprisingly, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — two of the most conservative voices on the bench — said they would have granted the state's request for a stay.