On the same day that voters headed to the polls to decide fiercely contested gubernatorial and Senate races in Kansas, a federal judge on Tuesday struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, whom President Obama appointed to the federal bench in 2013, ruled that Kansas' marriage equality ban violated the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. Crabtree issued a temporary stay of his decision, so same-sex couples won't be able to marry in the state until 5 p.m. Central time on Nov. 11, the Washington Blade reports.
The ruling comes as the state's conservative Republican governor, Sam Brownback, finds himself struggling to fend off a strong challenge from Democrat Paul Davis. As a U.S. senator, Brownback was among the nation's most prominent social conservative warriors. One decade ago, he co-sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have written marriage discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. While Brownback's governorship is most notable for his right-wing fiscal policies, he hasn't abandoned his socially conservative ways, and vowed last month to continue defending Kansas' marriage equality ban in court. If Davis ousts Brownback tonight and Crabtree's ruling stands, it would be a double blow to the governor.