Same sex couple in Kansas, marry now or in April?
November 9, 2016 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Me: a trans white lesbian, her: a black bisexual woman. Wedding in Kansas in April 2017. Will it still be legal? Is it worth risking it? Should we do the marriage certificate now and the wedding as planned?
posted by motioncityshakespeare to Human Relations (22 answers total)
Marriage certificate now now now. Don't tell anyone, if you want, and have the ceremony in April anyway. But get married now.
posted by lydhre at 8:27 AM on November 9, 2016 [66 favorites]

A lot needs to happen between January 2017 and April 2017 for marriage rights to be overturned, specifically a supreme court nomination to go through willing to overturn the previous case, but on top of that, an actual case that needs to go through the district court, appeal, and finally SCOTUS to decide that the right should be overturned. This is very unlikely to happen in a span of four months.

However, what I think may happen between January and April is that I can see Kansas passing additional laws that make it more difficult for you get the marriage certificate or get the services you're hoping for your wedding; a question stays in my mind of whether the government would take action to intervene and oppose those laws on civil rights grounds. These can and will be challenged in court by other groups, but I can understand not wanting to risk having to deal with this in that process.

If I were in your situation, I would get the marriage certificate now while it's (reasonably) easy and continue to plan to hold the wedding as planned in April. I can almost certainly say that even if all of the above were to happen (and I'm not convinced it will), such a court case is unlikely to invalidate already existing marriages.
posted by Karaage at 8:27 AM on November 9, 2016 [9 favorites]

I don't want to be alarmist, but certificate now and wedding as planned seems like the most pragmatic course of action.
posted by givennamesurname at 8:33 AM on November 9, 2016 [11 favorites]

You have 6 months after getting your marriage license to perform the ceremony. If you plan to hold onto it without performing the ceremony until April make sure you pick the date to get it that will fall within that 6 month window.
posted by edbles at 8:34 AM on November 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

I am notoriously against wedding reenactment type events but in this case I would say to get married now now now. Local Kim Davis types are going to be emboldened and there will be nobody to stop them.
posted by ftm at 8:46 AM on November 9, 2016 [16 favorites]

If you get legally married now, you have fewer things to be worried about.

If you wait until April, then that is one more (very big) thing to be worried about. No matter how realistically the possibility of marriage equality being overturned is, it is something you're going to have on your mind until you've got that marriage certificate.

Do it now. Love and peace and joy to the two of you.
posted by meese at 8:49 AM on November 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Follow up question then. Our wedding is within six months. If we get it now but don't sign it (that's how that works right?), is there any risk that it will be revoked or invalidated? Do we need to get married now, legally, or just get the certificate that allows us to get married now?

(I think I'm a little confused on the certificate, so any additional clarification on that will be helpful. Thank you all. The fact that I have a community that cares means so much on a day like today.)
posted by motioncityshakespeare at 9:04 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

In all likelihood, it will still be legal (from late January to April is a short time to get someone confirmed for the Supreme Court and have a case accepted by the court AND a decision), but why carry the worry burden? I cannot imagine anyone begrudging you doing whatever you need to guarantee that you have legal married status. Congratulations and good luck.

To your followup -- usually the marriage certificates have an expiration date -- 90 days from issuance where you need to solemnize the marriage and submit the completed form to the county clerk. Until the county clerk gets it from you, you are not legally married. Just having the certificate is not married.
posted by *s at 9:08 AM on November 9, 2016

Just get married now legally and have your wedding later. That's what I did and it was fine and nobody knew. Make your anniversary the wedding date.

You can't get the certificate and use it later - if you get the marriage license, you have about 30 days to go back for the certificate, but it is legal when issued.
posted by corb at 9:09 AM on November 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

I think everyone is advising you to get legally married, not just get the marriage license. It appears that in Kansas the license expires 6 months after issuance.

After you get the license, find an officiant and two witnesses that matches and follow the standards found here.
posted by Karaage at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

Thanks all. We're going to talk to our families and figure this out. I have always respected the advice of metafilter, and I appreciate it again today. Wish us luck. Wish us all luck.
posted by motioncityshakespeare at 9:26 AM on November 9, 2016 [28 favorites]

I can't imagine there's a single person who would be on your invitation list who would begrudge you a quick civil ceremony now with a formal celebration in April.
posted by praemunire at 9:34 AM on November 9, 2016 [14 favorites]

It is unlikely anything is going to happen in Kansas between now and April of next year. The legislature does not meet until January and even if they fast-tracked legislation it would not typically become law until July 1st.

They are going to be fighting over taxes and school funding and I don't actually expect them to get much done outside of those two issues.

Additionally, the House should have a moderate majority and I like to think that the moderates have moved on from that social issue.

All of that being said, I would get the certificate before the end of this year and then just hold onto it until the wedding date.
posted by Broken Ankle at 9:54 AM on November 9, 2016

Apologies if this is chatfilter, but a related note: you do have a passport and driver's license/other ID with your preferred gender on it, right? In case this affects anything about your marriage certificate.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:03 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sure, it's unlikely that anything will change in Kansas between now and April. But it was vastly unlikely that Trump would win, and now he has control of the House, Senate, and soon to be SCOTUS, too. I'd do the quick civil ceremony now, big party in April.
posted by getawaysticks at 10:35 AM on November 9, 2016

Pandora, thank you for confirming that. Yes, I have a DL and a passport with my correct gender on it. I will be updating the last piece I'm able to, the SSA, before December. My birth certificate will just never get updated, at this rate.

I think fiancée is coming on board for getting married now. It's just terrible that it comes to this. I wanted to call her my wife on our wedding day, not 5 months before. Now we have to decide how we treat our relationship in this limbo stage.
posted by motioncityshakespeare at 10:43 AM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I can legally officiate marriages in Kansas. Please memail me if I can be of help.
posted by blue_and_bronze at 10:59 AM on November 9, 2016 [18 favorites]

Just adding my voice to the choir saying make it legal ASAP.

My experience with marriage is that the wedding ceremony is the emotionally important day, regardless of its officialness. Better to be sure your legal marriage happens, and rest assured the ceremony & celebration day will be your "wedding" in your minds in the years together to come.

Wishing you both luck, wishing us all luck.
posted by Cranialtorque at 11:03 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wanted to call her my wife on our wedding day, not 5 months before

Then you should just consider this some necessary paperwork towards your marriage and continue to refer to each other as engaged until the wedding date. No one can force you to think differently. Best of luck!
posted by Julnyes at 2:14 PM on November 9, 2016 [10 favorites]

To offer a perspective from the point of view of a (heterosexually married) person who got legally married at a courthouse and held a celebratory wedding almost a year apart due to practical financial needs - we kept the legal courthouse signing quiet on social media and celebrated with a lovely dinner out with our witnesses, and held a larger, more traditional ceremony the next year at a time when our families could come together en masse. And it was wonderful! I loved 'getting married twice', we have two anniversaries every year, we got to restate our devotion to each other more than once, and no one at all at the larger ceremony felt that they were left out of the real thing just because we didn't sign a paper in front of them. We wrote a few other exchanges of vows and gifts into the ceremony and they stood in place of the signing. I say go for it not just for practical reasons but because it's actually very pleasant to have the legal stuff out of the way when planning the party. We were able to ask a dear friend to officiate without worrying if he could legally do so.
posted by DSime at 2:38 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes get married now. It's unlikely that gay marriage will be overturned by April, but Mike Pence is extremely in favor of "religious freedom" which will be terrible for human rights.
posted by a strong female character at 7:09 PM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Two of my best friends (both queer white women, one is trans) are applying for a marriage license right now for similar reasons. They too were originally planning to have their wedding later on when one of them secures a good job and can start planning. But these recent measures have sped things up considerably. Their plan is to get the license, get a witness and officiant to do the legal marriage part, and worry about the actual ceremony party stuff later - even if it takes years.
posted by divabat at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2016

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