Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kansas: Ban on domestic partner registries may be dead -- for now

By Diane Silver

Stay tuned. No one is ever safe until the 165 members of the Kansas Legislature go home. However, in this moment it looks like the proposed statewide ban on domestic partner registries is dead for 2007.

That word comes from the very conservative House Speaker Melvin Neufeld via the Lawrence Journal-World.
“It’s a little late,” Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said. “Those issues need to be worked pretty thoroughly, so that’s probably a next-year issue.”

By the way, if Neufeld says the bill is dead for the session, it's dead. As speaker, he controls which bills reach the full House for a vote.

The Legislature has a week left in its regular session before adjourning for a couple weeks. When lawmakers return to the Statehouse for wrap-up sessions, they usually focus on the year's biggest issues. Stopping the city of Lawrence from enacting what amounts to no more than a list of names isn't one of those big issues.

But as I said before, no one is safe until the pointy headed little lawmakers head home. We will have to continue to be vigilant.

Meanwhile, the bill's sponsor tells the newspaper he won't give up, and even Neufeld's sounds like the ban will be resurrected in 2008.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, said he was disappointed, but added, “I can guarantee you we will be back.”
And guess what? We'll be back, too.

By attacking the home-rule power of cities and unfairly trying to keep employees from accessing the benefits their companies offer, Kinzer is hitting way below the belt.

What is the average person to make of the on again-off again status of the ban? This isn't unusual for a controversial bill. Often such a proposal goes forward, then stalls, then shoots forward and stalls again.

Perhaps what is most unusual about Kinzer's bill is that it is controversial. There was a day when any anti-gay bill was a cinch for quick passage. That isn't true anymore, in part, because of the work of the Kansas Equality Coalition.
Photo: Speaker Melvin Neufeld


Anonymous said...

You've to stop publishing that photo of Melvin Neufeld. Please, I'm begging you!

Diane Silver said...

OK, now I'm laughing.

Shall I look for a newer photo?

Anonymous said...

Do you have to? He kind of freaks me out.