Kansas Marriage Amendment (2005)

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The Kansas Marriage Amendment was on an April 5, 2005 ballot in Kansas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved with 70% in favor.[1]

The enactment of this amendment meant that the Kansas Constitution was changed through the addition of language that defines marriage as "a civil contract between one man and one woman only" and also by declaring that "any other marriage is contrary to public policy and void." The amendment also prohibits the state from recognizing any other legal relationship that would "entitle the parties in the relationship to the rights or incidents of marriage."

The Kansas Marriage Amendment was one of two marriage-related ballot measures on the 2005 ballot, the other being Texas Proposition 2 (2005), which also was approved.


Federal appeals court ruling

On June 25, 2014, a three member panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down bans on gay marriage in the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. This was the first ruling made by a federal appeals court on this issue, which sets a historic precedent that voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment rights of same-sex couples to equal protection and due process.[2]

The court states:[3]

We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm. [4]

A recording of the decision can be heard here

Implementation of the decision was immediately stayed pending anticipated appeals to either the full appeals panel or the United States Supreme Court.[5]

United States Supreme Court

On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case appealing the decision of the federal circuit court, thus allowing the ruling of the Tenth Circuit Court to stand and making same-sex marriage "presumptively legal" in Kansas.[6]

United States District Court

On November 4, 2014, United States District Court Judge Daniel D. Crabtree ruled that the state of Kansas cannot prohibit same-sex marriage. Judge Crabtree delayed the ruling from taking effect for a week, allowing state officials to appeal the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Attorney General Derek Schmidt sought initial en banc review of the case with the Tenth Circuit and asked for a stay of decision while the appeal goes forward.[7] On November 12, 2014, the stay was vacated.[8]

Election results

Kansas Marriage Amendment
OverturnedotOverturned Case:Marie v. Moser 
Yes 417,675 70%

Text of measure

The wording on the ballot said:

"There is currently no constitutional provision regarding marriage. There is a statute, enacted by the legislature, that defines marriage as a civil contract between two persons who are of opposite sex and declares all other marriages to be contrary to public policy and void.
A vote for this proposition would amend the Kansas constitution to incorporate into it the definition of marriage as a civil contract between one man and one woman only and the declaration that any other marriage is contrary to public policy and void. The proposed constitutional amendment also would prohibit the state from recognizing any other legal relationship that would entitle the parties in the relationship to the rights or incidents of marriage.
A vote against this proposition would not amend the constitution, in which case the current statute that defines marriage would remain unchanged but could be amended by future acts of the legislature or modified by judicial interpretation."

Related measures

Voters in 30 states have approved legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or initiated constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages at the ballot box. The first constitutional prohibition was in 1998, and the latest one occurred in May 2012. Most of these amendments define marriage along the lines of a "union of one male and one female."


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters, but later overturned by courts:


Cases overturning the following bans have been appealed to higher courts and are currently stayed:

Note: Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis County and the state recognizes same-sex marriages.


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters and have been upheld or not overturned by courts:


The following constitutional bans were defeated by voters:

Note: Arizonans defeated a measure in 2006, but approved one in 2008, which has been overturned.

See also

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External links