Kansas needs marriage equality

A headline reading “First same-sex marriage license issued in Kansas,” is one that has been long overdue for this state.

Unfortunately, a headline reading, “Kansas Supreme Court blocks gay marriage licenses” followed shortly thereafter. Yet again, Gov. Sam Brownback and his supporters continue to find ways to control the people they are supposed to represent, by denying them one of the most basic of human rights — being able to marry the ones they love.

But for a brief moment, same-sex couples were allowed to marry, at least in Johnson County. A federal judge there ordered the district court to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples without fear of being prosecuted under Kansas law. That order was made Wednesday.

Later, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt petitioned to the Kansas Supreme Court on the matter. Shortly thereafter, the high court blocked Johnson County from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, mere hours after the first license was issued.

The Supreme Court released a three-page order banning the marriages, at least temporarily, with the high court stating they acted for “statewide consistency.” A hearing on the matter has been set for Nov. 6.

In his petition, Schmidt claimed the Johnson County judge exceeded his authority in ordering the approval of marriage license for gay couples, despite a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution. Gay marriage has been banned in Kansas since 2005.

The judge may have overstepped his authority in this case, but he did it for all of the right reasons. He did it so that same-sex couples, who are hardly any different from any other person, to do the one thing that’s been denied to them for far too long: the chance to marry.

Sure, it would be nice if gay couples had to wait until one of them was knocked up before they got married, like many other couples, but what is the point of denying them the right to marry?

Often, the answer is that it’s a violation against nature, or that the Bible says it’s an abomination. Homosexuality is found in more than 450 species, so the violation against the nature argument is null.

As to the second, this country was founded with the notion that one religion cannot dictate life over any other. Like it or not, that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

It’s high time marriage equality comes to Kansas. Hopefully the Kansas Supreme Court does the right thing, and grants gay couples the right to marry, something that’s been missing from this state for far too long.

— For the editorial board,

TJ Rigg