Archive for Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kansas: Measures introduced to end ban on same-sex marriage

January 30, 2014

— A House committee on Wednesday accepted a request to introduce measures that would repeal Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage.

Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, the state's leading gay rights group, asked for the proposals to be introduced before the wrap-up of a hearing on a bill that would provide legal protection to people who, because of religious opposition to gay marriage, would deny business and services to same-sex couples.

"Well, they want to have a conversation about marriage equality, so let's have a conversation about marriage equality," Witt said.

House Federal and State Affairs Chairman Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, said anyone who wants to introduce a bill in his committee is free to do so.

"It's never been my practice to preclude anybody because I may or may not like the particular bill personally," Brunk said.

Once the bills are drafted, Brunk will decide whether to hold a public hearing.

"I don't have a bill yet. All I have is a bill introduction, so I have no idea what it does or what it says. But as bills do come in, I do have to prioritize," he said.

Witt said one bill would repeal the state law passed in 1996 that bans same-sex marriage. He said the other measure would be a proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the 2005 amendment that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. That passed with 70 percent of the vote.

Witt said he believes that eventually the U.S. Supreme Court will strike state laws and constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage. Federal judges in Oklahoma and Utah have recently struck down bans and, like Kansas, fall under the jurisdiction of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Comments

Keith Pullman 10 months, 2 weeks ago

There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to marry any and all consenting adults. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality "just for some" is not equality. Let's stand up for EVERY ADULT'S right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!

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