To the editor:
My partner and I recently had a baby boy here in Lawrence and have been overwhelmed with the support and help we have received from our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues and the staff at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he was born. We have not found Lawrence a hostile place to be a gay couple, but Lawrence is in the state of Kansas, which as many people are aware, has proposed an amendment restricting the definition of marriage to exclude (more definitively than ever) gay people.
Before you vote on this amendment on April 5, we just wanted to remind you that this will hurt not just gay couples but also our families.
As gay people in the United States, we presently suffer unequal treatment and cannot count on rights that most people take for granted, such as the right to legally adopt and co-parent a child (although there are many gay families); Social Security benefits for one another and our children; family, sick and bereavement leaves; inheritance exemptions on a spouse's death; family medical insurance protection; medical decision-making and visitation. There is, in fact, a list of 1,049 laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans and their families (see the Web site at www.goa.gov/archive/1997/og97016.pdf ).
Why not support all loving and committed families? Why continue public policies that discriminate in a state that is proud of its "free state" heritage?
Jill S. Kuhnheim,