At issue is Lawrence's impending passage of a domestic partner registry. Already anointed by a 4-1 vote, the registry is expected to pass two more votes and become a reality on Aug. 1 or thereabouts.
Note that this registry is nothing more than a list of names. Note also that all it does is allow people -- both straight and gay -- to gain access to insurance and other benefits their employers already offer.
Most folks call that being fair. But to Rep. Lance Kinzer the simple act of saying that people who are couples (some for decades) are, well, couples is horrifying. The KC Star reports:
But there are opponents, including one Kansas legislator who vows to push legislation next session to undo what Lawrence is doing and keep other towns from enacting similar registries.
“I think the city of Lawrence is doing this just to make a political statement,” said Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who fears that the ordinance could lead to a challenge of the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages. “I don’t think it does on its face, but the potential is there.”
In the just completed 2007 session, Kinzer was the only sponsor on a bill to ban registries. While the bill made it out of one of the most socially conservative committees in the House, it never made it to the House floor for a vote. Apparently, there wasn't enough support to bring it up.
One warning, though. Never underestimate the power of the right to pass anti-gay legislation. That's why joining the Kansas Equality Coalition and helping the coalition in its Statehouse work is important.
PHOTO: Lance Kinzer