This is a call for all fair-minded Kansans to take action, and to do it today.
The bill banning domestic partner registries in Kansas, HB2299, has been set for a hearing before the House Federal and State Affairs committee at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15. The hearing is in Room 313-S.
Tom Witt, chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition, says in an e-mail:
This bill is a direct attack on the Equality Coalition's Lawrence Chapter's efforts to pass a domestic partner ordinance in the city of Lawrence, and it's critical that we defeat it.I concur with everything Tom says. This is appalling legislation that is aimed at keeping people from taking advantage of the benefits, such as health insurance, that their employers already offer to domestic partners. It is outrageous and mean spirited, to say the least.
There are several ways you can help.
1. Volunteer to testify before the Committee on February 15. Kansas Equality Coalition is leading the effort to stop this bill, and we ask that all persons wanting to speak out against it schedule their appearance through us.
We are currently looking for: a) Any couples who wish to register as domestic partners, and whose employers will grant them benefits based on their registration. Lawrence-area residents are preferred; b) Any employer or business owner who wishes to use a domestic partner registry to offer benefits to their employees. Lawrence-area businesses are preferred. c) Any couple or individual who has been turned down for benefit applications because they are not registered as domestic partners in the state of Kansas.
2. Contact your state representative and tell them you OPPOSE HB2299, and ask them to vote NO. Hand-written notes are the most effective, followed by phone calls and personal visits. Don't send form letters!!
You can find your state representative here: http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-house/searchHouse.do
3. Help us pay our lobbyist! We cannot fight this bill without your financial support. Any amount you can give - $50, $100, $500 - can be earmarked to go directly to our legislative fund. Click the "DONATE" link at the top of our home page to donate online (http://www.kansasequalitycoalition.org/), or mail your contribution today. (KEC, 6505 E Central #219 Wichita, KS 67206)
We are committed to fighting this ban, and will do everything we possibly can to protect the rights of LGBT Kansans. Together, we can defeat this bill, and then go on to create a domestic partner registry that will be available to everyone. Help us send a clear message throughout Kansas, and beyond, that equal rights are on the march in the Sunflower State.