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Archive for Wednesday, June 26, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage could affect Kansas

June 26, 2013, 11:19 a.m. Updated June 26, 2013, 8:30 p.m.

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Supporters of gay rights in Kansas celebrated two major U.S. Supreme Court decisions released Wednesday, saying the rulings have opened the door to overturning the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," said Stephanie Mott, of the Kansas Equality Coalition, at a rally that drew about 50 people outside the Statehouse.

"There is reason to believe that in our lifetime, we will be able to marry the person that we love, even in Kansas," she said.

But the author of that state constitutional amendment, U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, vowed to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defines marriage "as the union of one man and one woman."

Huelskamp blasted the Supreme Court, saying, "This radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority will not end the debate over marriage in this country. Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions."

In 5-4 rulings, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, and let stand same-sex marriage in California.

Repeated requests for response from Attorney General Derek Schmidt on the impact of the decision were not answered. Gov. Sam Brownback, who voted for DOMA when he was in the U.S. Senate, also did not respond for requests to his office for comment.

Advocates on both sides of the issue indicated that neither decision has any immediate impact on Kansas' constitutional amendment that declares marriage must be between one man and one woman.

But gay rights advocates and legal scholars said the decision may be the beginning of the end for the amendment, which was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters in Kansas in 2005.

Kansas University constitutional law professor Rick Levy said the court decisions increase the likelihood that the constitutional same-sex marriage ban will be overturned at some point.

He added that the Supreme Court ruling in the DOMA case is "highly significant," calling it "another step down the road to saying same-sex couples have an equal right to marry."

The Supreme Court decisions were greeted enthusiastically by gay and lesbian supporters who turned out for a rally in South Park.

“This is just the next step in getting our relationships recognized legally all over the country,” said Lisa Rasor, who last year married her longtime partner Lori Wagner in Iowa, one of 12 states that recognize same-sex marriages.

Mike Boring said it is still not clear whether he and his husband George King can file joint federal tax returns because even though they were married in Iowa where same-sex marriage is legal, they live in Kansas where it is not.

“We're still going to see how that works out,” Boring said. “But it's a step in the right direction.”

The two rulings also gratified some heterosexual couples, including Gary Brunk and his wife Joey Sprague.

“I think it's historic, I think it's a real move forward for equality, and our marriage doesn't feel threatened,” Brunk said.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat who voted against the Kansas amendment when it was adopted in 2005, said she doubts the rulings will prompt the Kansas Legislature to revisit the gay marriage issue.

“My understanding is that the decisions today in some ways invited further court action, and one of those actions would be to review the rights of states,” Francisco said.

Scott Criqui, the vice chairman for the Lawrence branch of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said, "I think it's wonderful news. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’m so happy for my friends who live in California. It’s as positive as anyone could expect with this Supreme Court."

Maggie Childs, an associate professor at Kansas University and a former chairwoman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, was pleased with the decision but said the struggle for equality was far from over.

"We still have things to do, and we shouldn’t forget we don’t have a no-discrimination in the workplace law on the national level," she said.

Levy noted that another provision of DOMA says states don't have to recognize a marriage that is valid in another state. The court did not act on that provision.

Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said Congress needs to repeal that part of DOMA.

"Should Congress fail to act, we hope the courts will once again step in to guarantee fair treatment for all Americans," Witt said.

Witt said KEC was "elated that the Court stood on the right side of history for justice, fairness, and equality for all citizens." But, he said, Kansas and 36 other states "still treat gay and lesbian couples and their children as unequal and second-class citizens."

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Huelskamp is just another bigot elected to the Kansas Legislature grandstanding for the people who elected him. Plays well with the great unwashed but is of little significance..

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billbodiggens 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don’t know about this Huelskamp fellow, but it appears that he has little or no grasp of U.S. history when he states that the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA matter was a “radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority.” I can only assume that he, a man occupying a high position in government, has no concept of the history of the government he is involved in. I can only assume that he has absolutely no acquaintance with the landmark decision of Marbury v. Madison that has been the law of the land since 1803. 210 years of history has apparently completely bypassed him. What a shame. The concepts of “vapid” and “turbid”come to mind.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Gay rights will never fly in Kansas for generations until all the prejudiced, religious morons that elected jerks like Juelskamp are dead and buried.

Ain't gonna happen in 18th century Kansas.

If the facist state legislature passes a law saying that "all gays should be dragged down a gravel road with a log chain and hung in a tree" (as I completely expect them to do) Brownback would sign it in a heartbeat.

Fred Phelps does not exist in a vacuum. His suporters are many and hidden from view.

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Pheps 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Are these unions going to be called marriage? Or, gay marriage? Is there now a difference with the age old term and the adverb added term? Why do some want to identify themselves as one or the other when all they want is love recognized by the state?

Other than gaining the same legal rights as marriages of past, what is all the hubbub 'bout? The states approval?

Why is the old term marriage now being ostracized by some with terms like bigots?

And why does 9 people in robes with out using constitutional rules, trump millions of peoples vote?

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notajayhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't know why anyone would think this is going to affect Kansas at all. (Oops - it's Scott Rothschild - that explains it.) The decision very clearly states that the ruling applies ONLY to marriages that are legally recognized by the states. Section 2 of the DOMA was not challenged, not addressed by the court, and remains in effect, so Kansas doesn't even have to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state. If anything, the ruling affirmed the right of the 37 states that currently outlaw same-sex marriages to continue doing so - Kennedy's majority opinion repeated several times that the states, not the federal government, have the right to define marriage.

Overall, despite the proclamations, this was hardly an earth-shattering change, and the rulings don't really justify all the celebrating. The existence of a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage wasn't even addressed, section 2 of the DOMA remains in effect so same-sex marriages are only valid until you move to a state that chooses not to recognize it ... other than federal taxes and benefits, not much was gained (and even THOSE are lost if you move out of one of the 12 states recognizing the marriage).

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ebyrdstarr 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Rep. Huelskamp, aren't you supposed to be for fiscal responsibility and small government? There is no possibility your proposed amendment could pass the Senate now, let alone the 38 states necessary for an amendment to be ratified. So why on earth would you waste one cent of taxpayer money on this?

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Armored_One 9 months, 3 weeks ago

There is a really simple cure...

Religious marriages (performed in a religious building like a church) and civil marriages (anything decidedly not religious, like justice of the peace) are separated by a constitutional amendment.

Both are completely and totally legal, in terms of all applicable laws. However, civil marriages are not open for debate, nor are religious. No sitting government can challenge any decision by a religious institution on whether or not they marry gays. Religious institutions are banned from doing the same thing to civil marriages.

No one is forced to do anything, church and state stay separate, and everyone wins in the end.

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In_God_we_trust 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It would now be appropriate to see Kansas reinstate the Sodomy laws.

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oletimer 9 months, 3 weeks ago

the original authors of the Constitution are rolling over in their graves today, thanks so the "supreme" court and obama. The document has been stretched so think the last 5 years (coincidence? I don't think so), it no longer resembles the original. Today's 25-45 year olds are so busy screwing this country up, there will be no coming back. One man and one woman was good for hundreds of years. Now today's society has deemed it and other things as non important. Why is that? What was once the greatest country in the world is now the laughing stock. And no one here seems to care. When the hell are we going to stop the noisy minority from ruling this country? I guess as long as they have obama in their pocket, we won't. I have always said the best way to take down this country would be from the inside. That way our enemy does not have to fire a shot. Today our country is run by "politically correct" extremists and others that would just roll over in event of danger. This country is headed to the gutter, and you idiots seem happy. Pretty sad in my book. Enjoy the ride, it won't end well.

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blindrabbit 9 months, 3 weeks ago

srj: My Catholic comments (see first post this story) apply to Roe vrs. Wade just as they do with regard to the DOMA SCOTUS vote. With only about 30% of the U.S. population subscribing to the Catholic faith, how come 6 of the 9 SCOTUS justices are Catholic (Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Sotomeyer and Thomas).. The other 3 are Jewish. How can the court be considered balanced given the religious breakdown as it now exists. Even more noteworthy, all 9 are graduates of either Harvard, Yale or Columbia law schools, talk about an Eastern bias.

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Ray Parker 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Kansas will overturn the Supreme "court". Hands off our Kansas Constitution. Sodomy is not the equal of traditional marriage, nor will it ever be.

No sodomy

No sodomy by parkay

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weiser 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Make them get married and suffer like the rest of us.

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Steve Jacob 9 months, 3 weeks ago

My worry is look at Row vs Wade, that was decided by the court in 1973 and that's still being picked at.

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Jason Bowers-Chaika 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It's time to start investing in everything related to weddings such as cakes, tux, dresses, travel, and yes divorce. Leave it to gays to give the economy a kick in the azz.

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midwest_muser 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is more in line with the vision of America's founding Fathers. More power to the States and a LIMITED Federal Government. America is moving toward two contrasting states. Red States with low unemployment, low taxes, business growth, gun ownership rights, lower crime and higher moral standards. Blue States with huge debt, high unemployment, high crime, union corruption and abortion and deviant behavior galore. You choose where you want to live.

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blindrabbit 9 months, 3 weeks ago

srj: Wake up, when should a majority vote decide the "Rights" of anybody including any minority, no matter how small. Many states are majority populated by bigoted people who mare willing to assume their own constitutional rights but equally willing to deny others. Hence the courts!!!

4

boiled 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey I thought Obama was against gay marriage. But his thinking has evolved as we all know.

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage." -2008

"I am a fierce supporter of domestic-partnership and civil-union laws. I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue. I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation. ..." - 2004

"I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix." -2008

1

overthemoon 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Huelskamp has just said he'll file a constitutional amendment to restore DOMA. Boy is he deluded.

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Steve Jacob 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I am all for gay right and marriages, but why do we have elections if the minority of voters goes to court and throws out what the majority wanted?

3

TheOriginlCA 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Goody for the deviants. Best not to oppose this or you might be targetted by the DoJ or IRS.

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Corpus 9 months, 3 weeks ago

U.S. v. Windsor gained traction as a tax case where the surviving spouse of a New York same sex marriage was exempt from inheritance tax in New York, but was forced to pay Federal inheritance tax, creating what is described by today's Supreme Court decision as "two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State.

With the finding that DOMA is unconstitutional, it would appear that legally married same sex couples residing in Kansas will now be able to file joint federal tax returns as married couples. At the same time, under the current Kansas Constitutional amendment, the marriage of these very same couples is not recognized within the State of Kansas thus barring them from filing as a married couple, at a reduced tax rate, on their Kansas income taxes.

On the face of it, this creates the same conflict between Federal and State law that was the heart of the ruling today. The first couple that is denied married status on Kansas tax returns could arguably have standing to contest the Kansas Constitutional amendment as a denial of their now recognized federal constitutional right to not have two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State.

Should not Kansas be required to insure that a couples marriage, legally performed and recognized in the state where the marriage was granted and now also recognized for Federal tax purposes (and one would hope that soon for all other Federal benefits)by the Federal government, be given 'full faith and credit' in Kansas?

It may take time, but indeed, the handwriting is on the wall.

4

Gregory Newman 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It is stated in the 14th amendment Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge- (reduce, curtail, slash, cut) the privileges or immunities (the condition of not affected) of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

According to this amendment of our constitution Gay couples have a right to marry regardless of anyone’s personal feelings. Bible principle is not constitutional.

It is stated in the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress (to remedy or rectify) of grievances.” So therefore, same-sex marriage should never be heard in court at any level period.

This nation came upon this situation because of two religions the Catholics and the Mormons. These two institutions had the unadulterated guile to go on the offensive by funding and addressing the issue to the courts in California which nullified the effect of the 1st amendment.

What is so disturbing is that you have one religion that has issues with pedophilia and the other polygamy. Then the Protestants jumped in and took sides and in some cases it has split families and congregations. Now the God of heaven and earth is receiving the blame because of the ignorance of His followers. If the religious community did not go on the offensive this situation would have remained in the City and County of San Francisco as a Civil Union per the voters of the City and County of San Francisco and not the rest of the Nation.

In this nation it became a habit to announce the 1st amendment as the separation of Church and State. But the term is an offshoot of the phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

The original text reads: "... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The phrase "separation of church and state" itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

Since our civil liberties have accepted marriage as a privilege. We as humans should not take the institution of marriage as an idea or personal property to manage as one would deem fit. So therefore, it would be profane to determine what is fair or equitable about a principle that belongs to God to define humanity.

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Dave Greenbaum 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Will the Journal World start publishing all wedding announcements instead of it's currently policy that blocks the publication of those wedding announcements based on the gender of the parties?

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Satirical 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I haven't read the ruling yet, but the outcome makes sense. I just wonder when polygamists will get full equality in the eyes of the federal government.

2

9 months, 3 weeks ago

I can hear the wails, teeth gnashing and rending of clothes in Topeka all the way from here.

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Ricky_Vaughn 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Well it's about flippin time! Now, onto evolution in schools...

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Lane Signal 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"In the Supreme Court ruling, the majority said that same-sex couples cannot be denied equal rights based on animus or disapproval" - I can't imagine Brownie and Kris acknowledging the Kansas constitutional amendment is based on animus or disapproval. They will try to say the rule is designed to prevent bestiality and polygamy and child molestation and prevent the entire state from becoming gay. They will hire some lawyers who donated to Brownie's campaign to defend the amendment. And while we are all distracted by this issue, they will try to sneak through some more changes to the tax code designed to take from the poor and middle class and give to the rich.

13

Thom 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why isn't the Reader's poll working?

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blindrabbit 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Great decisions; but sick of Catholic members of the Court holding to their religious dogma rather than voting on the "Rights" side of the issue. Catholic members Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas voting with the Pope and Rome, whereas Ginsburg, Kennedy, Sotomeyer Kagan and Breyer voting for America. Kansas hold your breath, changes are a-comin, regardless of what Smilin Sam and his troupe of bigots want.

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