Apr 07, 2007
Editorial: To Kansas Civil Unions and The Horse They Rode In on
From the Gay Republic Daily Editorial desk: - Kansas' state Attorney General has issued a non-binding legal opinion that clears the way for civil unions in the city of Lawrence. And without knowing it, he confirms that those sorts of 'recognized' unions are worthless. Waaay back in the days of yore, back in the dark days of 2005 'round about when that damn Black Eyed Pea 'Humps' song came out... you know back then, the voters in Kansas passed one of those ultra-nasty, anti-gay constitutional amendments that restricts marriage to 'one man and one woman'.
It's an ugly law; almost as ugly as Virginia's version, or Ohio's. It's a poxy law because it goes on to bar granting any of "the rights or incidents of marriage" to same-sex couples. In other states, that kind of legal lingo has been used to outlaw domestic-partner benefits, or even attempts to slap an outright ban on unmarried couples living together.
Fast-forward to late last year, to 'round about when Alanis Morissette was just considering covering that damn 'Humps' song: The city fathers of Lawrence, Kansas decide that they want to register same-sex civil unions. Good for them (and shame on Alanis). Now, the city's effort was not all that shocking. Lawrence is about as liberal a place as there is... in Kansas. The huge University of Kansas campus is there. Lots of young people. The place was famously nuked in an old 80s TV movie called 'The Day After.' My understanding is that they've recently gotten something known as 'cellphone service' there. We're talking hip... for Kansas.
So, hep cats that they are, the city fathers decided to wait on passing their little civil-union measure until the state Attorney General weighed in. They're city fathers; they hang out at the Elks club and the Knights of Columbus. They think the Chamber of Commerce is important. Point is, they're not the kind of guys who wanted to run afoul of the state, constitutional mandate for hate.
This week the state AG told them to go ahead. Everything's more or less legally peachy, he says, because registering same-sex CUs doesn't actually provide any real marriage rights to those who sign up. "The ordinance does not permit something forbidden by the marriage amendment," the AG's legal opinion says.
Great... right? No. Wait. Let me read that again.
Seems to me that he just confirmed what a whole lot of gay people have been saying all along: civil unions are no substitute for actual Equal Marriage. In fact, they don't do anything at all. Just ask the Kansas state Attorney General.
Golly, turns out that fella-- that AG fella-- he's purty smart... for a guy from Kansas.