Though confusion persists, along with denial, Kansas became the 33rd state with marriage equality on Thursday and Sedgwick County one of the first counties issuing marriage licenses.
The result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s move Wednesday to lift the hold on same-sex marriages in Kansas, the historic change can be celebrated as an expansion of rights in the state. As one Douglas County man who planned to marry his partner of 20 years told the Lawrence Journal-World: “It’s only fair.”
Let’s hope other kinds of discrimination also end soon. Not surprisingly, Wichita scored only 38 of 100 points in a new Human Rights Campaign index measuring how 353 cities nationwide support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (compared with Topeka’s 43 and Lawrence’s 72).
Gov. Sam Brownback and others may continue to spend time and taxpayer dollars trying to defend the state’s 2005 constitutional amendment barring gay marriage. But with multiple federal courts having declared such bans to be a violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, the legal momentum is on the side of marriage equality. The Supreme Court’s order indicated only two of the conservative justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, would have granted Kansas’ application for the stay.
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There is nothing new about gays and lesbians being in committed long-term relationships in Kansas, nor living and raising children together. But now they also have the option to get marriage licenses and wed, rather than having the legal status of strangers.
Congratulations are in order, along with the same best wishes due any other Kansas couple newly pledging their love and devotion to each other.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman