The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a Georgia couple to file for a new marriage license after the state’s attorney general’s office declined to renew their marriage license in May 2016.
The justices said they did not rule on the validity of the couple’s request to have their marriages recognized as valid under Georgia law, but said the issue would be addressed by a different court.
Georgia Attorney General Brian Kemp, a Republican, argued in May that a ruling by the state would “damage the credibility of the state and the American people” and said it would put the state at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to issuing licenses.
“If the Supreme Court finds that the request was a valid one, it would undermine the credibility and integrity of our marriage-license process and the integrity of the marriage laws in the state,” Kemp said.
“The state is in the business of issuing marriage licenses, not issuing marriage license requests.”
Kardashians’ marriage license request was rejected in April by the Georgia Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of a federal judge who ordered the state to issue a new license to the couple.
The couple was able to obtain the same marriage license from the same state court, and it was then that the attorney general decided to pursue the appeal, according to a statement from Kemp.
Kardas lawyer, William D. Williams, told Recode in a statement that the case is about “the right of the people of Georgia to marry.”
“As the U.N. has repeatedly stated, the institution of marriage is an essential human right, a fundamental part of our nation’s founding principles,” Williams said.
But the ruling is notable for its timing, given the state was not issuing licenses at the time, Williams said, and the couple is only now starting to file their paperwork.
If the state doesn’t renew their license, it could be a significant blow to the state as it struggles with a surging birthrate and a record number of same-sex marriages in the U, D.T. Williams added.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there were 2.4 million same-gender couples in Georgia in 2016, according the Associated Press.
The state has the second-highest number of people living in same-same-sex relationships in the nation behind California, where there were more than 1.7 million.
In a ruling from April, the U and U.K. high courts ruled that same- sex couples in the two countries have a right to same- gender marriage, which is the union of a man and a woman.
The U and UK have been unable to reach a resolution on a same-marriage agreement between their two countries, and last week the European Court of Human Rights declined to take part in a challenge by a Dutch court.
Kasper has not commented on the Supreme Law Court’s decision.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper last week, Kemp said he believed the Supreme Courts ruling would not affect Georgia marriage licenses.