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Archive for Friday, January 20, 2012

51 measures proposed for repeal, but not law criminalizing gay sex

Department of Administration Secretary Dennis Taylor (left) and Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday hold news conference to discuss measures that the administration is recommending be repealed.

Department of Administration Secretary Dennis Taylor (left) and Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday hold news conference to discuss measures that the administration is recommending be repealed.

January 20, 2012

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday unveiled a list of 51 state measures that he says are unreasonable to keep on the books.

But one of those escaping the ax of the Office of Repealer is the state law that makes gay sex a crime even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that laws that criminalize gay and lesbian relationships violate the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Thomas Witt, chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, pushed for repeal of the law and said he was angered by Brownback's decision.

"There is nothing more unreasonable than Sam Brownback’s preserving an unconstitutional law that’s used by government officials to harass gay and lesbian Kansans," Witt said.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that being gay or lesbian is not a crime, and Brownback’s announcement today is an act of gross disrespect to the Constitution, and to the thousands of gay and lesbian Kansans singled out by this unjust law," he said.

When taking office in 2011, Brownback created the Office of Repealer to get rid of laws that were unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous or in conflict.

Secretary of Administration Dennis Taylor conducted 26 meetings in 24 cities and received 506 suggestions, including the recommendation from the Kansas Equality Commission.

Asked why the law banning gay sex wasn't recommended for repeal, Taylor said he did not want to comment on why individual laws didn't make the cut. He said those that didn't will continue to be reviewed for possible repeal in the future.

The state law dealing with gay sex was essentially nullified by a 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 has argued there is a danger in having the law remain on the books because unscrupulous authorities could use it to harass gays. He pointed to a 2008 news story in Garden City that quoted a law official there saying that homosexuality is a crime in Kansas.

Of the 51 statutes that will now go to various legislative committees for possible repeal, many are outdated or superseded by federal law, Taylor said.

One on the list would repeal a law from the early 1900s that outlines a process to reinstate a sheriff who is fired for allowing a person in custody to be lynched.

Comments

George_Braziller 3 years, 1 month ago

This one thing cuts right to the core of Brownback. It illustrates very clearly that he bases his decisions not on what is right or wrong, fiscally logical or illogical, fair or unfair, legal or illegal. He has his pre-set agenda carved in stone and that's all he's going to follow. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Darrell Lea 3 years, 1 month ago

What Aron Cromwell does or does not do has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this story, unless "cramming it down our throats regardless" has something to do with the unconstitutional law that Gov. Brownback refuses to repeal.

Steve Bunch 3 years, 1 month ago

OK, now that's been cleared up:

  1. There's good sodomy (heterosexual).
  2. There's bad sodomy (homosexual).
  3. Bad sodomy is legal if you want to pay your attorney to argue it.

Free sodomy!

rockchalker52 3 years, 1 month ago

In other news, all pigs will remain grounded.

thebigspoon 3 years, 1 month ago

So much for the Repealer. At least Sam is standing by his "moral code". Law matters not to this guy. The only "law" he follows is this: Any person who doesn't agree with me is doing something illegal.

beatrice 3 years, 1 month ago

Is this law why he insists on going out of state to see his buddy Rick Perry?

Guess this also means that Santorum is not welcome in the state of Kansas.

Hooligan_016 3 years, 1 month ago

sigh 26 years is enough Kansas for me :(

Love my home state but everything here infuriates me.

thebigspoon 3 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, but a majority of its citizens did not even vote. The majority of those who did vote elected him. Now, the real issue is that the rest of those who did not vote can make a real difference. We only can hope that they make themselves known next time.

motercyclejim 3 years, 1 month ago

than move out if u dont like kansas!!! its for peple who no what god wants and how 2 b holly!!!! If ur a demmocrat who hates god we dont want u in our state.

Armored_One 3 years, 1 month ago

Well, it's nice to see the public education system's end results...

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

Asked why the law banning gay sex wasn't recommended for repeal, Taylor said he did not want to comment on why individual laws didn't make the cut. He said those that didn't will continue to be reviewed for possible repeal in the future.

Perhaps the most compelling argument against the religious right is their cowardice in publicly defending their own belief system. The proper answer would have been:

Governor Brownback's interpretation of the Bible and his version of Christianity has lead him to the conclusion that homosexuality is a sin. By repealing the law, he would be tacitly approving homosexual sexual practice. From the Governor's personal religious perspective, god's law is supreme to man's law.

kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

And once again, the separation of church and state goes out the window of our state capitol.

TopJayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't really care about the law one way or another.

But remember, the initial intent of the writers of the Constitution had "seperation of Church and State" To keep the Government from interfering in religous activities.

Now it has been turned 180 degrees.

So using that as an argument shows a decided lack of understanding of our Constitiution.

Boarderthom 3 years, 1 month ago

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written on this issue, from his latest book - "This is a matter of ordinary justice. We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about - our very skin. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups." (page 54) and - "Equally, I cannot keep quiet while people are being penalized for something about which they can do nothing - their sexuality. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as apartheid ever was." (page 55) Strong words from a great man who has fought against apartheid. 'Apartheid' is the Afrikaans word for separateness.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Boarder. A wonderfully eloquent statement of what should be obvious. Just as we don't choose our sex, we don't choose our sexual preference. it's not a life style choice. It's biological. To me, its incomprehensible that one would consciously choose a sexual preference that subjects them to public ridicule, discrimination, marginalization, and physical attacks, and in some extreme cases, violent death.

This is why coming out of the closet is so important, and why we should applaud those gay pioneers who bravely came out when it was still exceedingly unpopular, rare, and dangerous.

As more and more gay people come out, the friends, families and co-workers who knew them in the closet as simply good and decent people come to accept them as good and decent people who happen to be gay. I know of know better way to disabuse straight humans beings of their homophobic tendancies, which from my perspective is socially acquired as opposed to instinctively bred.

Witness the civil rights movement whose most important victory, in my opinion, was integration. It's hard to teach young children to be racist when their playmates, classmates, neighbors and cultural heroes are of a different color.

That is why President Obama should be applauded for having the courage to repeal don't ask, don't tell, and why the religious right remains as one of the major impediments to a more advanced, enlightened, civil and humane society. .

Funny how most folks tend to lose their homophobia when they find out that the child or friend they know and love happens to be gay.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 1 month ago

"Just as we don't choose our sex, we don't choose our sexual preference. it's not a life style choice. It's biological."

While I have no interest whatsoever in what people do in their own bedrooms and for legal reasons would have favored repeal of the law, would you care to cite any credible scientific evidence in support of your assertion that homosexuality is "biological?"

Bradley Kemp 3 years, 1 month ago

Would you care to cite any evidence or reason to believe that whatever "causes" homosexuality is any different from what causes heterosexuality?

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Did you choose your sexual orientation?

cato_the_elder 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually, I was the one who asked for a specific response and never got one. Would you care to cite any credible scientific evidence in support of the assertion that homosexuality is "biological?"

cato_the_elder 3 years, 1 month ago

What you've cited is old news, which itself admits that it is only speculative. There is no scientific proof on this subject that is equal, for example, to the fact that the Salk vaccine prevents polio.

I'm still waiting.

question4u 3 years, 1 month ago

This certainly makes you wonder which of the 51 "unreasonable laws" is the real reason for creating the office of the repealer. How will Sam and his backers benefit?

Janis Pool 3 years, 1 month ago

Thank YOU for posting! We are in a great deal bigger trouble than just the one issue! Yes-freedom of all persons should be exactly that-free.

But to de-regulate seeds and fertilizers and the checks and balances, to weaken our penal system and KDOT. And to NOT require monthly updates on construction of the Capital Building when he gave that job to cronies. Oh my goodness!

As for the comments about the repeal going back to committee, someone there knows not to let it die!

thebigspoon 3 years, 1 month ago

Did you notice that each and every one of the proposed repeals (except the sheriff thing) are nothing but procedural statutes? There is nothing substantive there, quite what I expected from this administraation. Again, Sam has created a bureaucracy for the sole purpose of making a show of smaller government, when in point of fact doing nothing but putting on a show. This is despicable. How much state money was spent on carting Taylor around the state to gather input when the input concerning substantive statutes was completely and conspicuopusly ignored, and without reason or comment. This is what we get and what we'd better be ready to get rid of come election time.

dwendel 3 years, 1 month ago

Look again. I think there appear to be several sustantive items, hidden carefully among the headline and trivial, that deregulate big business and weaken the rights of working Kansans - particularly in extractive private industries (koch) and big farming (surprise-Brownback). Don't be fooled. Not to trivialize the anti-gay stuff, but I think the negative effects of this proposal will be felt by all working Kansans, regardless of their sexual orientations. Follow the money, the rest is a smoke screen. Koch buys Brownie -- Brownie repeals safety oversite for mining and oil operations. It's as simple as 1+1 = 2.

George_Braziller 3 years, 1 month ago

This was definitely a smoke screen. I researched the other ones that are slated for elimination and you're right.

verity 3 years, 1 month ago

"The state law dealing with gay sex was essentially nullified by a 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."

So---if the law isn't being enforced, why not repeal it?

By the way, will these laws have to go through the legislature or will Brownback just arbitrarily repeal them?

thebigspoon 3 years, 1 month ago

Probably because the headline heralded a story of facts. Great observation, BAA, you seem to be catching on.

coderob 3 years, 1 month ago

Is it because he's the legislative reporter for the LJworld, and this is story that has to do with the legislature?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago

We all know that Brownbackwards is a theocrat, right wing nut and worse. Why is anyone surprised at thie event? Bigotry, prejudice and a whole hosts of "isms" are abhored by the "christian" reich. Be careful who you vote for, the Gestapo may arrive at your door next.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone surprised that this story was no. 2 in the NY Times US section today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/us/sodomy-law-remains-official-in-kansas.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

Great way to attract to the state, no

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

How does government (which are people too) authorities

Correction: How do government ......

Noting wrong with being uneducated....... Now ignorance, that's another story

Getaroom 3 years, 1 month ago

+1 What a fine reply to offer FHNC TS!

mloburgio 3 years, 1 month ago

The POK [party of koch]

Fascism is a right-wing trait.

kujayhawk7476 3 years, 1 month ago

Brownback is the worst thing to happen to this great state in it's entire history. He is an extraordinary right-wing wacko! Human rights mean nothing to this person (I refuse to refer to him as a man). Wouldn't be funny if either his daughter or new son-in-law ended up being gay and/or needing an abortion?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

If either of those things happened he would just send them out of state and keep it under wraps. And don't think he can't do it. Ronnie Reagan Jr., son of one of the biggest homophobes to ever walk the planet, was forced into hiding his sexuality for years.

Ace Cleaning 3 years, 1 month ago

What's Up with the JW trashing Brownback everyday?

If Homosexual Sodomy is protected by the feds, then it's the hetro Sodomites who should be asking for Equal rights in Kansas.

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

"The feds" "protect" all private consensual sexual acts, heterosexual just as fully as homosexual.

To be clear: the Supreme Court forbid the criminalization of any adult consensual sexual act where the state is unable to put forward a legitimate interest sufficient to overcome the 14th amendment's limitation of state power to intrude on the personal and private lives of individuals.

I suspect you're confused about the underlying law because of the practical aspects -- in a democratic society where politicians rely on getting votes, majorities rarely restrict themselves from actions they wish to take and, absent civil rights guarantees, stick to interfering in the actions of minorities. As is true so often elsewhere, majorities do not tend to rely on the courts to protect themselves as they have the votes to protect their own interests sufficiently.

Nevertheless, if by some strange course of events the state legislature managed to pass a law criminalizing heterosexual sodomy (perhaps the single most common sexual act in Kansas), the courts are there to protect the people from big government just as reliably as they protect anyone else.

Getaroom 3 years, 1 month ago

If only individuals could secede from The Union, how happy FHNC might be but then again the Moon is a lonely place these days with NASA being cut to the bone and so fewer Moon visits. But I suppose being as Astronomically wealthy as FHNC must be, he can inhabit his own Universe and have his very own anti gravity non government government. All righty then, all is said and done. Make it so!!!

ivalueamerica 3 years, 1 month ago

Taylor said he did not want to comment on why individual laws didn't make the cut.

God forbid the people ask and get answers as to what our legislature is doing about laws that we must live by.

I really hate this Brownback Regime, the opinion that the people should not be part of the process, that businesses should have more rights than individuals, that Judeo Christian Sharia law should prevail and that the poor should be left to rot and that women should be forced to breed.

Charles L Bloss Jr 3 years, 1 month ago

Anyone who knows anything about Brownback should know he would never repeal this law. Thank you, Lynn

texburgh 3 years, 1 month ago

Here's what I want to know...

How much have we taxpayers paid this useless life-long government bureaucrat to wander around the state for the last year so that he could come up with a list of 51 statutes or regulations that are "unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous or in conflict" and yet he could not suggest repealing the one that is UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

In the meantime, school funding was rolled back to the 1999 level (not even accounting for inflation), waiting lists for persons with developmental and physical disabilities who are eligible for services grew longer, SRS offices were closed, Community Mental Health Centers were closed, and the list of anti-Kansan acts by this Governor just goes on and on.

But at least he found tens of thousands of dollars for this stupid effort...and $75,000 for the idiot (Art Laffer) who advised him to propose raising taxes on 80% of Kansans.

Talk about skewed priorities. The one remaining question is: "Is Brownback stupid or is he just doing what the anti-government Kochs and other billionaires are telling him?"

dwendel 3 years, 1 month ago

I'd like to see some more reporting on some of these other items to be repealed. It looks from the titles that there are several items here designed to neuter the Dept of Labor from protecting private sector workers. I suspect that these might be the real reason for this exercise in repealment. I suspect that the anti-gay law was purposefullly left on the books to cause an uproar and divert attention from the repealment of significant laws designed to uphold worker rights and safety. I don't think Browniback's oligarch masters really care what gays do, but they do care a lot about increasing their ability to dominatie and exploit those who generate their wealth for them.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Yes.

I hadn't looked at it closely, but 16-18 seem to be just that.

Buried in the middle of a bunch of perhaps trivial suggestions, we find this obvious attempt to weaken the Department of Labor, and increase the freedom/power of industry.

Thanks for bringing that to my notice.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

If it's unconstitutional, then it would be unconstitutional to try to enforce it, I would think.

And, there's certainly no need to criminalize adult sexual behavior in order to protect children - adult heterosexual men can't have sex with female children, right?

The vast majority of pedophiles self-identify as straight, even when their activities involve children of the same gender, which is odd.

This law is simply intended to criminalize gay sex between consenting adults, is unconstitutional, and should be taken off of the books.

Ace Cleaning 3 years, 1 month ago

Your right. Sodomy is an additional charge used when prosecuting sexual assault.

Jimo 3 years, 1 month ago

Things that "Phoenixman" (a/k/a, Gronhagen, a/k/a Patriotman, and a long list of other BANNED account identities) doesn't understand:

Pedophilia

Homosexuality

Heterosexuality

Priests

Children

Adults

(The) Media

Sex

Reason

Honey Badgers

beatrice 3 years, 1 month ago

Jerry Sandusky is married to a woman and a registered Republican. Why hasn't the media made those connections to pedophilia?

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Victims of sexual assault don't need a law banning gay sex or various practices among consenting heterosexual adults.

The clear and obvious definition of sexual assault is that one of the participants does not consent to the act.

Any and all sexual acts are covered under that definition.

Your claim is very odd - it's like suggesting that a law banning heterosexual intercourse is necessary to prosecute heterosexual rape.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Your belief, then.

I'd say it more strongly - if they are adults and consent, it isn't the government's business at all.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

The very first section of the relevant statute makes it illegal for individuals aged 16 or over to engage in sodomy, if they are of the same gender.

That criminalizes consensual sex, and only for homosexuals.

dwendel 3 years, 1 month ago

Glad you don't hate gay people. That may be what you beliieve the intent of the law is, but the law itself says otherwise. If its sole purpose is to pile on offenses in the case of sexual assault as you claim, why does it also criminalize consenting acts between adults who love each other? If you are as supportive of gay people as you claim, I'm pretty sure you'd acknowledge that arguement. We. don't have to agree, but we should be honest and willing to listen.

buffalo63 3 years, 1 month ago

The Labor Laws (#16-18) were enacted in 2004, along with several others dealing with the Labor Department. I'm sure that Bownback thinks these are onerous. He did however skip repealing 44-612 which deals with minimum wage. Maybe next time!

buffalo63 3 years, 1 month ago

Oops! 44-623 deals with minumum wage. Again maybe next time.

motercyclejim 3 years, 1 month ago

Is Brownback gona make it leggal for gays to be gay?!! I hope not its a gainst the bibble when wil people learn?!!!!!!!!!!!

coderob 3 years, 1 month ago

It's against the Bibble, too? Darn. Now I've got another book to tell me what to do.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 1 month ago

Why doesn't one of the Lawrence legislators simply introduce a bill to repeal the law. Seems pretty simple to me. You don't need a repealer to repeal a law. A legislator can do it too.

Armored_One 3 years, 1 month ago

Anyone else find it hilarious that the original storyline from X-Men and the story of homosexuality in this country seriously run parallel to each other?

Satirical 3 years, 1 month ago

The law should obviously be repealed, but this is just an attempt by Liberals to rile up their base. Yes gay sex is still illegal in Kansas (KSA 21-3505), but guess what...so is adultery (KSA 21-3507). And guess what again...those laws aren't enforced. So this issues is completely moot. Both of these laws have been on the books a long time. Sebelius didn't repeal that law either, but for some reason there was no outrage then...how odd.

Folks, please stop allowing yourself to be manipulated. Everyone knows that trying to actually prosecute sodomy is unconstitutional, so the only reason this story would be such a big issue is if someone is trying rile up Liberals against something (Brownback). Please think for yourself occasionally.

Armored_One 3 years, 1 month ago

That it is unconstitutional isn't what is getting under people's skin.

The fact that Mr. Brownback made such an ado about how he was going to get rid of superfluous laws, but yet leaves this one. It does beg the question as to why this one was left, doesn't it?

Satirical 3 years, 1 month ago

He also left the law about adultery. Does that mean he really hates adulterers? Probably not.

And maybe I am wrong, but does the governor get to propose which laws are repealed, or does the legislature propose and the governors signs it? I am pretty sure it is the latter, so blaming Brownback for something both he and Sebelius didn't do sounds a lot like a weak partisan attack, rather than one based on principle.

coderob 3 years, 1 month ago

Neither Sebelius nor Brownback would stick their necks out for this one because it risks alienating the conservative majority. Sebelius being pro-choice was already enough of a hurdle in getting elected. Then you have a consistently Republican majority in both houses that makes repealing this law dead in the water.

What is particularly troublesome, whether you support gay equality or not, is that the Kansas legislature is setting a precedent where it can ignore Supreme Court decisions, challenging the longstanding institution of federalism. You can call the sodomy law trivial if you want, but in a grander scheme I personally do not want the state to get in the habit of ignoring the Supreme Court. Just imagine what would happen if the legislature started ignoring other Supreme Court rulings...

Satirical 3 years, 1 month ago

coderob... "Kansas legislature is setting a precedent where it can ignore Supreme Court decisions, challenging the longstanding institution of federalism."

KSA 21-3505 was codified decades before the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) which made sodomy laws Unconstitutional. Allowing the law to remain on the books isn't ignoring the SCOTUS. The Judicial branch has not authority to tell the Legislative branch which laws it must pass or repeal. It can however say whether a law is Constitutional. In this case the sodomy law is Unconstitutional. So whether the law remains on the books or not is moot since the law has no effect.

coderob 3 years, 1 month ago

What about this 2009 instance in Texas where police told a kissing gay couple that they would be cited for "homosexual activity" if they didn't leave a restaurant?

http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=4174&MediaType=1&Category=26

Had the couple been arrested, any reasonable judge would release them. So in that sense, the law is unenforceable. But why should anyone have to go through this rigamarole in the first place? Letting the law stay on the books allows for police harassment. No one will end up with a prison sentence, but you can be sure gay couples in Texas will think continue to think twice about expressing affection in public. That to me is just as much punishment as a night jail.

Satirical 3 years, 1 month ago

coderob...

(1) I already said this law SHOULD be repealed.

(2) Sebelius who is a democrat had the opportunity to repeal the law and didn't do it either. Yet where was the outcry when she was in office?

(3) Anyone who doesn't realize this is 99% about politics, not principle, is being manipulated by the Left.

(4) Are you going to admit your previous argument about the Kansas Legislature was wrong? If not, then good day sir/ma'am.

coderob 3 years, 1 month ago

I stand corrected on my assumption that the US Supreme Court could force a legislature to repeal a law. I still think the legislature's decision not to repeal the law represents a lack of cooperation on behalf of the state that I don't like to see from elected officials. They may not have to take their medicine, but really should in the spirit of good government.

With Sebelius, she didn't catch as much criticism as Brownback is now because she supported the decision. She said at the time "I think that reinforcing the right to privacy by the Supreme Court is a strong opinion and a very positive opinion." http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2003/jun...

That's a very tepid statement by Sebelius in support of the decision, but you'd never catch Brownback saying something remotely similar. Brownback's list of laws to repeal stays totally silent on the issue. Given the difference in responses, the coverage put on Brownback is justified.

That's not to say that Sebelius is beyond criticism. If you read back on the case of Matthew Limon, who was given a longer sentence than a heterosexual would have received for the same crime, you'll find a somewhat similar outcry. See the link below. Her name may not be in the headline of this article, but her decision to remain silent got recorded just the same. You can bet that gay activists of the time were still frustrated, and critical of her for not giving a pardon to someone who deserved one. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2003/feb...

On a personal level, I guess I'm tilting at windmills here. I probably won't be satisfied until I see a Kansas governor handing out condoms at the local pride parade. Anyway, thank you for challenging me on my assumption, and thank you for agreeing that the law should be appealed. This whole discussion has helped me understand the topic a little more.

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