KANSAS CITY Kan. (Reuters) - The Kansas Supreme Court said on Tuesday the state's most populous county could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and left it to the federal courts to determine whether a Kansas ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.
The court did not address whether same-sex marriage should be allowed in all Kansas counties following a federal judge's ruling on Nov. 4 that clerks in Sedgwick and Douglas counties must issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Johnson County, which includes suburban Kansas City and is the state's most populous, had begun taking marriage license applications from same-sex couples in October, but was blocked temporarily from issuing licenses by the state Supreme Court.
The court noted on Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree had found the Kansas ban violated the U.S. Constitution when he granted a preliminary injunction that requires Sedgwick and Douglas counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The U.S. Supreme Court last Wednesday denied a Kansas request to delay Crabtree's order from taking effect and marriage licenses are now being issued to same-sex couples in some, but not all, counties in Kansas.
Including Kansas, same-sex marriage is now legal in 33 states plus the District of Columbia.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Kansas; Editing by David Bailey and Peter Cooney)