To the editor:
The League of Women Voters believes that the individual liberties guaranteed by the Kansas and U.S. constitutions should not be weakened or abridged. On April 5, Kansans will be asked to decide whether to include an amendment that does just that. We urge you to vote "no."
The first part of the proposed amendment is redundant to Kansas law, which already defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Whether or not you agree with it, there is no need to include this definition in the Kansas Constitution; it is already law.
The second part of the amendment is more insidious, as it would deny some Kansans fair and equal treatment in the courts and even in their place of employment. It raises legal questions regarding a relationship between any two persons that does not meet the state's definition of marriage. Similar constitutional amendments in Ohio and in Michigan have denied justice to both homosexual and heterosexual couples whose relationship is consistent with common law marriage, denying domestic violence protection and prohibiting public employers from providing health benefits to partners (Journal-World, March 28, page 1A). The proposed Kansas amendment would do nothing to protect the stability of some families; it would do great damage to the stability of others.
Denying some citizens the rights and protections of state-sanctioned marriage is innately discriminatory. If you are proud of our state's history of tolerance, we urge you to reject this amendment.
League of Women Voters of Lawrence-Douglas County