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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What's next for Lawrence's domestic partner registry

Both the mundane and, let's say, the profane are expected in the next few months now that the Lawrence City Commission has passed a domestic partner registry.

First up will probably be the mundane. The registry is supposed to go into effect on Aug. 1. The city still needs to determine an exact fee and set up the web site that partners will use to register. As soon as I have details, I'll post them and a link to the registration site. You can read the ordinance here.

What may be profane -- or what calls "common or vulgar" -- is an expected attempt to stop the registry. The Lawrence/Douglas County Chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition has been hearing for months that someone (don't know who) plans to file an injunction to block implementation of the registry.

This may well happen, but right now I'm personally a bit uncertain it will. Although the battle was long and hard and took a ton of work, the opposition proved itself to be fairly toothless by the time the whole thing was over. On the other hand, it never pays to underestimate the commitment of our opponents.

I'm more concerned, though, about a renewed attempt in the Kansas Legislature to pass a bill banning domestic partner registries throughout the state. Introduced by Olathe Republican Lance Kinzer, the bill was passed by an ultra-conservative House committee last session.

When the Legislature goes back into session in January, Kinzer's bill could go to a quick vote by the full House, which is largely conservative. The bill would still have to pass the more moderate Senate, but I would prefer that we never have to engage in that fight.

Kansas Equality Coalition Chair Thomas Witt reminds us that "the work is not done," and he's right.

I propose a short break for everyone to catch their breath, and then renewed commitment to the fight. One important way to get involved is to become a member of the Equality Coalition. It only costs $15.

Becoming a member not only provides financial support for the group, but it also proves to decision makers that everyday voters support our goals. The truth is that many do, but our opinions have often been drowned out by the screams of the religious right.


KSDP Focus said...

I'm sure the lawsuit is coming. Let's hope the Lawrence City Attorney's office is ready for the fight.

Diane Silver said...

I hope you're wrong, but if it happens, it happens. I can't say for certain whether we'll win, but I feel positive about the ultimate result, whether that's legal or political.

KSDP Focus said...

Problem with a suit like this is that it becomes political REAL quick with judges afraid they may not be on the bench much longer.

It's also a matter of money to bankroll the litigation. If the city is strapped for cash, that can cause them to cave rather than fight.