Archive for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Topeka rejects domestic partnership registry

November 30, 2011


— Topeka city officials have voted against establishing a domestic partnership registry after the mayor said the change would push Kansas' capital city closer to legalizing gay marriage.

The registry, which failed on a 5-4 vote Tuesday, would have allowed unmarried adult couples to register their relationships with the city to gain easier access to benefits such as health insurance and hospital visitation rights.

Mayor Bill Bunten isn't a voting member of the council, but he spoke against the proposal. Earlier this month, he said he believes permitting civil unions and gay marriage amounts to "a minimizing of the need for a man and a woman to have a family."

The Topeka Capital Journal reported that Bunten disputed that the registry would change anything or confer rights on anyone.

"The bottom line is, it doesn't do a thing," he said.

Ten speakers spoke in favor of the registry, calling it a step toward ending inequality for some residents.

Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray said it was time for the city to address the issue "progressively, passionately and in a manner that will hopefully begin to remove the image of hate that this city unfortunately represents as a result of a very loud, mean-spirited minority."

Resident Marsall Barber told the council that voting against the registry would be standing in the way of spiritual, political and social progress, even though he said he believes marriage should be only between a man and woman.

Council members Denise Everhart and Richard Harmon disagreed with the proposal, saying that the issue was best left to the state or federal government to resolve.

"I listened to my constituents, and they asked me to vote 'no,'" Everhart said.

The registries generally allow unmarried adult couples, regardless of gender, to fill out forms with city government acknowledging their commitment. The partners can then use the forms to get access to health care, hospital visitation rights and other benefits enjoyed by married couples.

A similar registry was established in Lawrence in 2007, two years after Kansas amended its constitution to declare that only marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized. Kansas also prohibits granting rights or incidents of marriage to any other union or relationship.

Councilmember Andrew Gray sponsored the proposal, which sought to allow domestic partners to register their relationship with the city, "which will validate nontraditional relationships."

The proposal defined a domestic partnership as a "relationship of mutual interdependence."

The Topeka chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition was one of the main groups behind the registry in Topeka and claimed it would help attract and retain employees and extend equality to the couples.

Topeka employers that already offer health benefits to domestic partners include Dillons, AT&T;, Cargill, Payless ShoeSource, Bank of America and Mars Inc.


consumer1 6 years, 4 months ago

Good for Topeka, not being bullied by the few but, supporting the masses.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

The masses might want Christianity to become the official religion. The masses might want blacks to be sent back to Africa. The masses might limit your free speech the next time you post something the masses might not agree with. The masses might turn into a mob soon. You might not like what mob rule looks like. Today might be a good day for the masses, I mean mob. Today has been a bad day for individual liberty and individual rights.

TheStonesSuck 6 years, 4 months ago

I totally agree. Gays should be marginalized for the heathens they are. Oh wait, nevermind, I forgot I'm not an oppressive bigot.

Alexander Smith 6 years, 4 months ago

You know, people like you who claim to be a US Citizen fail horribly at understanding your own country. Our country was based on freedom expression, equal rights, not to be oppressed on religious beliefs and the BIGGIE.. separation of church and state. Basically the church does not regulate our laws. BUT YET morons like you and the GOP let religion ban a relationship because of same sex. The entire fear of gays falls to Christianity and conservatisms. So to ban gay marriages is totally against the foundations on what America stands for... being separation of church and state, equality, and tolerance.

Oh the excuse that it isn’t and it harms family values is the biggest BS excuse ever so don’t even respond with it.

Finally here is one to stuff up the conservatism noses, Since the gay bashing thing is connected to Christianity as the source, (by the way Jesus died for our sins so gay relationships are not a sin), is that we have laws against multiple wives..correct.. well then explain to me why many figure heads in the Christian faith had MULTIPLE wives and it was okay???

Got to love the double standards that conservatisms and the GOP have.

America is the greatest country, we are country of tolerance, ..lets be the example of the world.. not a country full of bigots.

Ever wonder why many countries hate us? Its not because we have more or better life styles. Its because we have double standards. We brag about equality and tolerance but yet the GOP and conservatism banner bigotry and hate based on a faith thousands of years old but yet they claim faith does not control their actions in politics.

Remember it was the religious conservatists that killed thousands of innocent native American Indians, had slaves, ran sweat shops full of children, etc.. yet they went to church bragging how right they were while a Chinese died building a railroad for little or no food and money.

Anyway, marriage and family is about love, support, and being happy. Life is to short to worry about a gay marriage. Stop dwelling on something that has NO impact on you and get your nose out of THEIR lives and focus on your own. Chances you have more problems in your family then the gay couple has.

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

So, consumer, 2 people are living together. It could be a man and woman, or it could be a same sex couple. For whatever reason they don't want to get a marriage license, in the case of the same sex couple, they can't get a license. Let's say the guy's company wants them to be registered to prove they are living together. If that happens, he can put his girlfriend on his health insurance, because her job doesn't offer health insurance. He still has to pay the family rate, but now she is insured, and if she needs medical attention she will get it. Let's say in Topeka now they can't register and she can't get on his family plan. She gets sick and has no health insurance. She could possible qualify for Medicaid or she can go to an emergency room and end up getting expensive care, but she doesn't pay because she doesn't have the money. Either way the taxpayers pay for her care, because you are morally appalled that 2 people would live in "sin".

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

How on earth would this "not have addressed discrimination"?

That's exactly what it would have done.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 4 months ago

you have to be touch individual

Is that legal in T-Town?

Jake Esau 6 years, 4 months ago

Good for Dillons/Kroger, AT&T, Cargill, Payless, Bank of America and Mars Inc, and Lawrence. Bad for Topeka.

Andy Hess 6 years, 4 months ago

T-Mobile offers benefits for Domestic Partnerships as well.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 4 months ago

Wow, gay marriage. What a so irrelavant and non-issue. If you polled you would see that 8 out of 10 Americans really don't care about this issue.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

If you polled Americans, 8 out of 10 might conclude that the freedom of speech of "Jayhawk1958" is irrelevant and a non-issue.
Should your freedom of speech be left to the whims of some poll?

oldvet 6 years, 4 months ago

Interesting that the article lists companies that offer benefits to domestic partners but fails to mentions a single company that denies these benefits simply because there is no official goverenment registry... One of the biggest points that supporters raise when trying to get a registry. And hospital visitation rights can easily be resolved with a legal document, best if filed with your county clerk.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

There are, unfortunately, some things that can't be achieved, even with a legal document.

For example, people can create a designated health care proxy, but hospitals are permitted to only allow family members to fill that role.

So, a gay couple can designate each other as proxy, but then hospitals don't have to honor that.

That's one of the reasons that gay folks want to be allowed to marry legally, with all of the rights/privileges that entails.

thebigspoon 6 years, 4 months ago

OK, let's start with any Kansas-registered health insurance company: not a one allows domestic partners the ability to share in health policies. You might also ask the human resources person where you work. It would be very much easier to list the outfits that DO offer benefits than to list those that don't. As to visitation rights, you may be correct but you will play hell as a domestic partner not married to the patient in getting information from the hospital. It's very convenient to pick and choose your reasons for not having the registry, along with its conveyance of rights, but the real reason is that you don't approve of marriages not of your style. Call it what it is: bigotry. And then, you might attempt "proving" your point by "quoting" religious sources. Won't work, but you can try. That's the American way.

Matthew Herbert 6 years, 4 months ago

The same town that decriminalized domestic abuse is standing up to protect family values? Oh Topeka. The sit-com of Kansas

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

The mayor was against it because he thinks that allowing a domestic registry amounted to "a minimizing of the need for a man and a woman to have a family".

I'm still puzzling over that one.

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