Thursday, April 07, 2005

On Kansas Marriage

Thia Michelle

A White Piece of Paper

I saw a bumper sticker today that read "Kansas: As Bigoted as You Think," and feel an overall resentment from my community, in the only county in the State that struck down the Ban, that Kansas has proven itself backwards and against the times... that the Nation is looking down on us ignorant country bumpkins. Admittedly, many gay-rights activists vocally are.

I thought I would write a bit on my thoughts about the amendment to the State Constitution that banned same-sex marriages. This single-side piece of paper that has received national attention from my home state

I Think We Should Keep Some Perspective:

Thinking about what the amendment actually did for Kansas legal process, I came to the conclusion that:

Honestly, almost nothing. The original legislature reads that legal marriage in Kansas necessitates two consenting "persons of opposing sex."
So, the amendment reworded this phrase to constituting marriage as the union of "one man and one woman only."

Whatever, it's the same thing. Same-sex marriage was illegal in Kansas on Monday and its illegal today, days after the amendment passed.

The Big Picture...

We should keep in mind also, that Kansas is not quite so "backwards:"

1. We are *not* alone. As far as I know, Massachussetts is the only state that recognizes same-sex marriage. As progressive of a city as Lawrence is, does anyone honestly expect that *Kansas* would be next?

2. For some further perspective... overwhelmingly, the global public is somewhat uncomfortable with institutionalizing same-sex marriage. Even areas we typically think of as liberal *cough* Europe *cough* only three countries recognize same-sex "marriage": Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

Although most European countries offer same-sex couples some legal rights, even though their unions cannot legally be defined as a marriage.

For example, Germany, same-sex couples have the opportunity to apply for an Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft or Registered Life Partnership. This way, couples are offered legal protection similar to that of our common-law marriages. But even in Germany, this is the best a same-sex couple can do. They are not allowed to marry.

Take a look at the map below to view your country of interest. Thanks to wikipedia for releasing this image for public use.

Thia Michelle

My conclusion...

I understand that its a big deal. This issue is hugely important to me as well. Equal-Rights opponents call our ban "immoral." At the same time, over 100 Kansas Christian ministers openly admitted their opposition to the ban, in spite of the media's portrayal of this issue as a centrally religious debate.

The topic warrants discussion for sure. The word: marriage represents a lot of equally important and emotionally charged ideas personally.

But in my opinion, politically it's a contract. I think it's important for us all to think about the terms under which people can enter. I feel the sentiment that an attempt to "protect it" has become somewhat of a dirty word. I think this is not fair. We *should* protect it, both sides. If we don't set some standards, then the contract becomes meaningless. (ie-should we allow group marriages? polygamy? etc)

With that in mind, my hope is that both sides can chill out and understand that history hasn't been made here. This is an important issue that warrants discussion and maybe then we'll come together to discuss under what terms we *should* protect the legal definition of marriage... of course after all the fuss settles a bit.