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Same-sex marriages and gay rights in Kansas

Part 9: 2019-FEB:
Recent U.S. polls on same-sex marriage.
Bill in the Kansas Legislature.

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This essay is continued from the previous essay

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Summary of U.S. national public opinion polls on same-sex marriage (SSM):

The U.S. GSS (General Social Survey) has been conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, since 1972. One of many questions that they ask a random selection of U.S. adults is whether they favor or oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry.

During the thirty years between 1988 and 2018, they found that support increased by more than five times, from about 12% to 67%:

  • 1988 12%
  • 2004 30%
  • 2006 35%
  • 2008 40%
  • 2010 46%
  • 2012 50%
  • 1914 57%
  • 2016 59%
  • 2018 67% 7

Robert P. Jones is the CEO and founder of Public Religion Research Institute and the author of the book: "The End of White Christian America."

During early 2020, he commented on the recent trend in support for same-sex marriage. He said:

"By 2019, support for same-sex marriage among the general public had jumped to 66%, with solid majorities among non-Christian religious Americans such as Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims (80%), white mainline Protestants (74%) and Catholics (72%). Today, white evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group with a strong majority (71%) opposing same-sex marriage."

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Activity in the Kansas Legislature concerning sexual orientation:

  • During the 2018 midterm election, Brandon Woodard (D) and Susan Ruiz (D) became the first openly LGBT members elected to the Kansas Legislature.

  • Various bills were introduced to the Kansas' Legislature in early 2019 that would:

    • Prohibit discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community throughout the state.

    • Label all same-sex marriages as "Parody Marriages" and would terminate their recognition by the state. 3

    • Create a second type of opposite-sex marriages to be called "elevated marriages." Divorce would be made more difficult for couples in such marriages.

The lead sponsor of the "parody" bill is Randy Garber (R). He said that same-sex marriages:

"... probably ... [don't] affect me. Their union or whatever you want to call it. But in my opinion, they're trying to force their beliefs on society." 5

He also said:

"So this bill is to say the state should stay out of religious unions. The state has always said that they will not interfere, or that they will not promote one religion over another. Well now, they are promoting secular humanism over all other forms of religion." 5

Webmaster's comment:

Garber's comment is clearly incorrect. Allowing same-sex couples to marry is supported by most NOTAs -- persons not affiliated with an organized religious group, -- by liberal Christians and by mainline Christians, members of liberal and mainline faith groups in other religions, Agnostics, Atheists, secular Humanists, Wiccans, other Neopagans, and many other faiths and belief systems.

If either of the two anti-LGBT/pro-discriminatory bills are passed by the legislature, they would have little chance of being signed into law by the current pro-equality Democratic governor, Laura Kelly (D). Even if one did become law, there would probably be an immediate challenge in the courts, because the laws would seriously conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015-JUN. It legalized same-sex marriage across the entire United States with the exception of American Samoa.

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2017 to 2019: Kansas: Democratic and Republican Governors sign orders regarding discrimination against LGBT state employees:

In a game of musical chairs by the Governors:

  • Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) was governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009. During 2007, she signed an executive order that protected LGBT state employees against harassment, firing, or discrimination.

  • A subsequent governor, Sam Brownback (R), was in office from 2011 to 2018. During 2015, he signed an executive order which terminated Sebelius' order, thus exposing LGBT state employees to discrimination once more. 1

  • Laura Kelly (D) was elected governor during the midterm elections in 2019-NOV. On NOV-06, election day, she reaffirmed her promise to reinstate Governor Sebelius' previous executive order and restore LGBT protections. She said:

    I am planning to actually have an executive order drafted before I take office." 2,4

    Tom Witt, director of Equality Kansas, said:

    "We’re quite pleased she’s keeping her campaign promise and we’re not surprised," 4

    He also said that a proposed anti-LGBT bill represents the:

    "... most vile, hateful and disrespectful legislation" [he has seen in 14 years as a lobbyist.] The sponsors should be ashamed of themselves. Every year, we see bills that restrict, remove, and limit the rights of LGBT Kansans, but never have we seen this level of extremist vitriol laid out in legislative language. These bills combined are 18 pages of insults and name calling."

    Referring to Fred Phelps, who headed the strongly anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, KS, he said:

    "Fred Phelps would be proud."
  • Governor Kelly kept her promise. Signing the executive order was her first official act. 2 She said:

    "As I have said numerous times before, discrimination of any kind has no place in Kansas and it will not be tolerated in this administration. We will ensure that state workers feel safe and supported in their working environment." 4

    Her executive order goes further than Governor Sebelius' (D) past order. It extends protection beyond state employees to include workers for state contractors. It also creates a program to support persons with disabilities and requires agencies to develop affirmative action plans.

    Tom Witt said:

    "It’s an important message to businesses and everybody else in Kansas that this is going to be a place where fairness and equality are valued and promoted." 2

    Witt is aware of seven people in Kansas who have been fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 2

    However, Rep. Steve Huebert, (R) is skeptical. He said:

    "To me, there’s more important issues to be working on and I don’t think in the last eight years there’s been any huge problems for people that were discriminated against. At the end of the day, it’s an easy way for Brownback and an easy way for the governor to speak to their base. Does it change anything in the long run? Probably not." 

The executive order is restricted to those executive branch agencies that are directly under the Governor's control. Employees of the legislators, for example, are not protected.

State Senator. Mary Pilcher-Cook, (R) criticized the order. She said that it is:

    "... anti-liberty ... and is "degrading to reduce individuals ... [to their] sexual inclinations. ... These laws cause divisions in communities and can have serious detrimental and unintended consequences because of their subjective nature."

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2019-FEB: Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act introduced to the Kansas Legislature:

Several state lawmakers introduced House Bill 2320 that would define same-sex marriages as "parody marriages."

The preamble to the bill states"

The sworn testimonies of ex-gays, medical experts, persecuted Christians and licensed ministers demonstrate that there is no real proof that a gay gene exists, that the idea that sexual orientation is predicated on immutability is not proven, and that sexual orientation is a mythology, dogma, doctrine or orthodoxy that is inseparably linked to the religion of secular humanism ..."

Research has shown that the main cause of homosexual orientation is not genetics; it is epigenetics. The latter term refers to a layer on top of a person's DNA that is formed shortly after conception, and stays with the person throughout their life. The epigenetic layer turns various genes on and off. A saliva test has been shown to predict a homosexual orientation among adult males to an accuracy of 83%.

The bill would also create a second type of "elevated" marriage for opposite-sex couples who seek a higher standard of commitment. 6

Bill 2320 was not picked up by the Kansas Senate for consideration, and thus did not proceed and become law.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Bryan Lowry,"Gov. Sam Brownback rescinds protection for gay and transgender state workers," The Witchita Eagle, 2015-FEB-11, at: https://www.kansas.com/
  2. Jonathan Shorman, "Kelly reinstates protections for LGBT state workers in Kansas eliminated by Brownback," 2019-JAN-15, at: https://www.kansas.com/
  3. Jonathan Shorman & Bryan Lowry, "Kansas lawmakers sponsor bill calling same-sex marriages ‘parody’," The Witchita Eagle, 2019-FEB-13, at: https://www.kansas.com/
  4. Jonathan Shorman, "Kelly will reinstate protections for LGBT state workers in Kansas," The Witchita Eagle, 2018-NOV-08, at: https://www.kansas.com/
  5. Jonathan Shorman & Bryan Lowry, "Kansas lawmakers sponsor bill calling same-sex marriages 'parody'," The Emporia Gazette, 2019-FEB-13, at: http://www.emporiagazette.com/
  6. Kansas Hose Bill 2320, Kansas Legislature 2019-FEB-13, at: http://www.kslegislature.org/
  7. Ryan P. Burge, "What turned the tide on Gay Marriage?," "Eastern Illinois University, 2019-DEC-17, at: https://religioninpublic.blog/
  8. Robert P. JonesĀ "The End of White Christian America," Simon & Schuster, (2017). Winner of the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Search by title or by ISBN = 1501122320.
    U.S. $15.33 in Kindle format, or
    $11.85 in hardcover plus postage, or
    $10.39 in paperback plus postage

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Site navigation: Home > Same-sex marriage > SSM menu > Kansas > here

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Copyright © 2019 to 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2019-FEB-14
Most recent update: 2020-JAN-05
Author: Bruce A Robinson
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