KU group supports domestic registry

University Senate lauds 'inclusiveness' of Lawrence proposal

A Kansas University leadership group has weighed in in favor of a proposed domestic partner registry for Lawrence.

The University Senate, made up of 57 faculty, staff and student leaders, voted unanimously at its March 1 meeting to support the idea of a registry.

The statement said the group “appreciates the efforts of the members of the Lawrence City Commission as they work to acknowledge formally the presence of diverse families in our community through the implementation of a domestic partnership registry.”

The group also said it “welcomes the enactment of laws, ordinance and practices that strengthen equality, inclusiveness and fairness as pertains to all Lawrence residents.”

A KU faculty leader said if there’s support for an employee’s partner – whether it’s a homosexual relationship or not – the person is more likely to stay at KU.

“We felt like this is an issue of acceptance, this is an issue of inclusiveness and nondiscrimination,” said Ruth Ann Atchley, an associate professor of psychology who is president of Faculty Senate.

Lawrence would become the first city in the state to legally recognize gay partnerships if the city moves forward with a registry. Being included in the registry wouldn’t automatically confer the same legal rights that married couples have, but it would be an official recognition that could make it simpler for some employees to obtain benefits, such as health insurance, for their partner.

Maggie Childs, head of the Lawrence chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said she was “delighted” by the KU vote. She said her group plans to take the proposal for the registry before the new City Commission after the April 3 election.

In the meantime, a bill is pending in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee that would forbid Lawrence from creating a domestic partner registry. The bill was introduced by Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe.