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Archive for Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kansas Equality Coalition seeks repeal of homosexual sex law

In this 2008 file photo, Amber Weiss and Sharon Papo, both of Berkeley, Calif., hold hands during their wedding ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco. Advocates are now seeking to repeal a Kansas law which classifies homosexual sex is a criminal offense.

In this 2008 file photo, Amber Weiss and Sharon Papo, both of Berkeley, Calif., hold hands during their wedding ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco. Advocates are now seeking to repeal a Kansas law which classifies homosexual sex is a criminal offense.

November 27, 2011

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— When Gov. Sam Brownback last year issued his first executive order, which created the Office of the Repealer, he said he wanted to get rid of laws that were unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous or in conflict.

Such laws, Brownback said, “are detrimental to the economic well-being of Kansas; hinder the growth of liberty and opportunities for Kansans and Kansas businesses; and defy a common-sense approach to governance. … ”

The Kansas Equality Coalition, a group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, wants to hold Brownback to his word.

Under Kansas law, homosexual sex is a criminal offense. But a 2003 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court says that laws that criminalize gay and lesbian relationships violate the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“We believe that the current statute, while ultimately unenforceable, is an affront to thousands of law-abiding gay and lesbian Kansans,” said Thomas Witt, chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition.

For months, state repealer Dennis Taylor, who also serves as secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration, has been gathering input on laws to repeal. He is nearing completion of preparing a report for Brownback.

Neither he nor Brownback is saying yet what laws they think should be repealed, but whichever way the administration goes, the repeal initiative is bound to create fireworks.

Taylor said he has received input on repealing more than 400 laws. Some, he said, deal with controversial social issues such as the sodomy statute and recently approved legislation like the ban on smoking in indoor, public places.

“What is the intent with those controversial ones?” asked Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, and chairman of the House-Senate Committee on Rules and Regulations.

Taylor said he will make a report to Brownback, and the governor will decide which ones “he wants to carry forward.” Any repeal of a state law would have to be approved by the Legislature first.

The state law dealing with gay sex was essentially nullified by the 2003 Supreme Court decision, and some legislators have argued there is no reason to remove the Kansas law from the books because the statute isn’t being enforced.

When the court ruled, then-Attorney General Phill Kline issued a statement, saying, “The decision announced by the Supreme Court of the United States today renders Kansas adult homosexual sodomy law unenforceable and unconstitutional. Accordingly, we are providing notice to counties and district attorneys and other law enforcement officials of the nature of the Supreme Court decision and its effect on this little-used Kansas law.”

But Witt said there was a danger in having the law remain.

“This law technically criminalizes our relationships and leaves us open to harassment by unscrupulous authorities who may still make arrests under the provisions of this statute,” he said.

Brownback, a Republican, and the Kansas Equality Coalition have been at odds. Brownback has been an adamant opponent of gay marriage and was criticized by the coalition this summer for attending a prayer rally in Houston that was put on by several groups that oppose homosexuality. Brownback said he went to pray because the country was in difficult times.

Comments

Abdu Omar 3 years ago

Let's not get into a long discussion, name calling and downright angry discourse over this article. Brownback is against homosexuality and will do all he can to outlaw any relavance to it. Get over it and recall him. That is the only way to stop this religious bigot.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

governor brownback is not a bigot simply because he supports traditional family definitions and opposes homosexuality which the bible calls an abomination to our lord it is a sin which must be repented of!

jafs 3 years ago

From Webster's:

bigot - a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

Alexander Smith 3 years ago

Okay, lets get something straight. Our Constitution and government is based on separation of church and state and freedom of oppression by the government for the practice of ones religious beliefs. Basically stated, our government is not controlled by any religion. Well the whole gay anti crap is based off of religious beliefs, then why are having laws that violate the premises of our government which is to NOT have laws that are controlled by faith? You my friend are a bigot and hypocrite.

OH a religous note, Jesus died and forgave all our sins.. if this is true.. then gay marriage is one of them.

Another thing that kills me, is what harm is a gay marriage doing to you? Its relationship based on faith and love, not bigotry and hatred.

Would you like to have a law that allows us to pry into your sex life?

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

1- Christians and religious people are not excluded from participation in our national discourse and we may not agree with your interpretation of the "separation of church and state"!

2- supporting traditional marriage is not bigoted at all it is simply standing up for the status quo!

3- It seems to be the left-wing liberals who have a hard time allowing all citizens to voice their opinions including "religious opinions"

4- When the voters go to the polls they have supported traditional definitions of marriage.

jafs 3 years ago

Nobody's excluding you from public discussion.

Read the definition of the word bigot - you can certainly stand up for the "status quo" and be bigoted at the same time.

Nobody's stopping you from voicing your opinions.

Our system is not one in which voters have unlimited power - there are a variety of checks and balances, fundamental principles/rights, etc.

Joseph Jarvis 3 years ago

@LJW:

  1. Please consult modern style guides before reporting on minority populations. The Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all restrict use of the term "homosexual." It's akin to using outdated terms like "negro."

http://www.glaad.org/reference/style

  1. Under para 4, Lawrence v. Texas is a substantive due process case, not equal protection.

pepper_bar 3 years ago

From your link:

gay[:] Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity.

This article practically trips over itself in making references solely to sexual activity when it uses the word "homosexual". LJW seems to be following your style guide, champ.

Joseph Jarvis 3 years ago

@pepper_bar: You're right. I knew about the clinical exception, but not the sexual activity one. Thanks for the fact check.

bad_dog 3 years ago

You forgot to thank him for crowning you "champ".

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

Major judicial over-reach! Reversing an earlier opinion that held the exact opposite! A classic case of legislating morality from the bench--in this case immorality!

jafs 3 years ago

So the initial decisions should always be upheld?

Why wasn't it judicial "overreach" the first time?

Clearly, when the courts rule in the way you prefer, you want them to do so, and when they differ, suddenly they're "overreaching".

Joseph Jarvis 3 years ago

@kansanjayhawk said "Major judicial over-reach."

So you believe the government can't make you quarter soldiers in your house, but can enter people's bedrooms and regulate the private behavior of consenting adults?

weeslicket 3 years ago

from the article: The state law dealing with gay sex was essentially nullified by the 2003 Supreme Court decision, and some legislators have argued there is no reason to remove the Kansas law from the books because the statute isn’t being enforced.

to repeat: and some legislators have argued there is no reason to remove the Kansas law from the books because the statute isn’t being enforced.

uuhhhhhhh ...........

jhawkinsf 3 years ago

To be fair, many states have many "old" laws still on the books that are not being enforced nor are they being removed. It's common enough that our current crop of legislators should not be criticized for what is a common practice.

Joseph Jarvis 3 years ago

@jhawkinsf: Except its continued presence causes harm.

In 2008, the Finney Co. Attorney used the law in a presentation to Garden City college students to warn them that same-sex relationships were illegal. It appeared he was using the law to support imposing his personal moral beliefs on young people.

This year, the IRS tried to deny head of household filing status to a same-sex couple where one partner supported the other. The IRS relied on a provision prohibiting head of household status for relationships against local law and mistakenly cited Kansas's statute.

In Texas in 2009, two men were kicked out of a restaurant for kissing. When they protested, the restaurant called the police who mistakenly told the men that same-sex kissing was against the law. The jurisdiction had a nondisrimination law that included sexual orientation, so the result should have been the opposite--for the police to inform the restaurant owner that they couldn't refuse public accommodation to a gay couple. Instead the police mistakenly used the law to threaten the couple with arrest.

The worst case I've heard of was in 2008 in North Carolina. Police actually arrested a same-sex couple and stood by the arrest. Their position was that as long as the law was on the books, it was enforceable. According to police, the decision on whether to release the couple was the district attorney's. Of course, when the DA got into his office and reviewed the case, he immediately released the men. But the couple rightly pointed out that they had been punished nonetheless.

Besides these real world examples of the law's damage, there's just the symbolism of the thing. It's incredibly offensive that lawmakers go out of their way to retain laws criminalizing a minority population's existence.

jhawkinsf 3 years ago

I am 100% in favor of non-discrimination policies in regards to gays in all areas, including marriage. I was just pointing out that many laws in a wide variety of areas are still on the books and not being enforced. And that the fact that these lawmakers are not repealing a certain set of unenforced laws is not surprising.
What you pointed out were instances of ancient laws being enforced, which is a whole different situation. If they are being enforced, then they should be repealed immediately.

Joseph Jarvis 3 years ago

@jhawkinsf said "And that the fact that these lawmakers are not repealing a certain set of unenforced laws is not surprising."

There was a routine criminal code cleanup bill last session that included removal of the gay relations ban. Lawmakers went out of their way to remove the gay-specific piece from the cleanup bill and keep that part, but cleaned up the other parts of the code.

Sean Livingstone 3 years ago

"All cars entering the city limits must first sound their horn to warn the horses of their arrival."

This is a real law in Lawrence, KS.... I think I broke the law as many time as I drive into the city limits...

Jayhawk1958 3 years ago

Wow, Office of the Repealer. Now that is scary. Overturn smoking ban? Where is this guy from? The devil?

bad_dog 3 years ago

Sort of reminiscent of the title "The Decider"...

ebyrdstarr 3 years ago

Protected? In what way?? I'm not gay, but this is the first statute I would suggest to the repealer. It's an unconstitutional statute. But, yeah, it's really ridiculous for this group of "individuals" (why the quote marks?) to want police officers not to think they can be arrested under this statute even though prosecuting them would violate the US Constitution.

ivalueamerica 3 years ago

oletimer, repeating a soundbite Faux news types have told you even though it is verifiable not true only shows the level of legitimacy you add to your point of view in the debate.

Where I come from, you repeat something that is not true over and over again, you loose any credibility. Further, if you can not find a way to sustain your point of view without resorting to making stuff up, you have moved from being reasonable to being fanatical.

Joseph Jarvis 3 years ago

@oletimer: The law criminalizes gay people. How is that "protection?"

webmocker 3 years ago

If one is going to bother to create the "Office of the Repealer" it seems sensible that such an office would identify and repeal every single unenforceable law that is on the books. If you are cleaning things up, clean them up.

Waddetreestudio 3 years ago

Kansas equality coalition is one-sided (eye of our community)..especially when fred phelps was for a gay task force in 1993 which Kansas equality coalition overlooked- fred phelps was never there at the opposing party nor endorsed his name with those against gay task force in Topeka Kansas Sam brownback is neutral but is building a bridge to repeal some laws which hinder gay (migration) the laws hinder gay migration which lowers gay population in Kansas.. Thanks sam for repealing some of those Crooked unethical laws that are created by legislatures we vote in..

Alexander Smith 3 years ago

Having this law in our books.. very said in a county that we are to be representing freedoms of faith and seperation of chruch and state not to mention we are to be shining example of "equality" to the world. Especially since this anti-gay crap is soley based on faith. Kind of funny about that, here we have a law that bans a sin in the old testment but yet we have a law baning multiple wives which was okay in the old testment.

Got to love the conservatists, they are just FULL of double standards. No wonder the world hates us.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

oh--and ther liberals are perfectly consistent?--I don't think so...

jafs 3 years ago

Why not clear up your own inconsistencies first?

I seem to recall something about the "mote" in one's eye vs. the speck in other people's.

bd 3 years ago

Get a clue! You are in the bible belt, deal with it!

TEA ANYONE?

pace 3 years ago

I think geography is no excuse for bigotry, Get the law off the books. I don't agree that being in the bible belt means we have to honor prejudice, actually, it should mean the reverse.

kansanjayhawk 3 years ago

We are not honoring prejudice when we stand up for morality.

asixbury 3 years ago

The whole reason this law was brought up was because the governor is wanting suggestions on outdated laws to take off the books.....so isn't this law outdated since the federal law overrides it? Isn't this the perfect example, then, of a law to be revoked? It does not matter what your opinion on homosexuality is.

David Reynolds 3 years ago

What a waste of time to even discuss this subject.

oldbaldguy 3 years ago

conservatists anything like a shootist? i like that word. get rid of the statute. i finally have come around that some folks are hardwired to like the same sex. we used to execute horse thiefs, time change and laws should to.

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