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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lawrence domestic partner registry live blog

[updated 6/16/07 at 2:45 p.m. to correct identification of Natalya Lowther]

--- Note: This live blogging goes backwards, with the most recent chunk at the top and the oldest at the bottom of the post. --

[updated 7:05]

Testimony is done. Commissioner Rob Chestnut repeats his support for the marriage ban., but he is also repeating his support for the registry. "It's important to note that this ordinance has no comment on sexual orientation." The attorney general has said it doesn't conflict with state law. "I have to look at this as it's written, not what I think will happen. I appreciate all the dialogue. I had a lot of meetings and lunches and discussion, but I'm staying in the position I was in."

Commissioner Boog Highberger: "I do not see this action as a threat to individual's marriage or an institution. Data I've seen from countries that have instituted marriage, marriage rate has gone up....This is about freedom and freedom is one of the values this country was founded on. ... This is a freedom that does not impose on anyone else's freedom... I strongly support it. I think it's the right thing to do whether or not it's the popular thing to do."

Mayor Sue Hack: "I want to quote Pastor Peter Luckey. He said it's quite simply the right thing to do. ... I've thought about this for a long, long time. I'm proud to be in Lawrence, Kansas, to have this be a part of our ordinances."

The registry passed 4-1. Commissioner Amyx voted against.


[updated 7:01 on]

More discussion of how being gay is an "abomination before God" from another woman testifying.

[updated 7 p.m.]

Three women stood separately to talk about how this is all about sin. They are passionate, but not nasty and that's a blessing.

Another woman has stood to discuss moral values. "What happened to our moral values?"

(Sorry, I have to comment: We ARE moral. Sexual orientation is morally neutral. It's how you act and what you do with your orientation that matters. )

Yet another woman has stood, elderly, she says she is proud of the commission for supporting the registry. It isn't a threat to marriage or to her marriage and it's the fair thing to do.

Lori Messinger, from KEC stands: She is listing all of the states and cities that have registries. Atlanta, New Orleans have them, small cities, Ann Arbor, Mich; Iowa City, IA, many more. Lori notes that these are college towns that want to be welcoming. "I think it's importnat to note that I"m a Jew. You represent p;eople of diverse religious orgins."

I apologize for not getting all the names.

[updated 6:45 p.m]

Two ministers stood to oppose the registry. Rev. Leo Barbee and Rev. William Dulin.

Wow. A woman who identified herself as a "devout Christian" is now up testifying for the registry. She says the issue is health insurance and other benefits. "It's not the business of businesses to decide who's sinful. Nor is that the business of the city commission. That's God's job. It is the business of the City Commission to treat people in an equitable manner." Very eloquent.

I didn't catch the woman's name. She's wearing a bonnet as if she is Mennonnite. (The Lawrence Journal-World reports her name as Natalya Lowther. I chatted with her later in the week. She is a devout Mennonite who is also a member of the lesbian community.)

Sen. Marci Francisco just stood. She is Lawrence's state senator and is a Democrat and is urging the Commission to vote yes.


[6:35 p.m.]

Commissioner Mike Amyx had the City Commission pull the proposed domestic partner registry off the consent agenda. The Commission is now listening to public comment. Kansas Equality Coalition still believes it has the votes to pass this, but the opposition has finally gotten itself organized.

Stay tuned.

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