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More equality progress in Kansas: Lawrence debates domestic partnership registry

“I think God set up a standard that marriage is one man and one woman. Anytime we go against that, I think we are going against what God said in his word. I know that will cause some confusion or cause some people to say I’m homophobic. I’m not against gays or lesbians as people, but I just feel it is not the right thing to do.”
— Homobigot Rev. Leo Barbee of Lawrence’s Victory Bible Church

Lawrence, Kansas is about to open up debate on a subject that is bound to spur controversy — whether the town should establish a registry for gay and lesbian couples. The state has a marriage amendment, so one has to assume any rights established will be subject to a legal challenge. (SoVo):

“It would indicate that the city is welcoming and supportive of its gay community members,” said Maggie Childs, who heads the Lawrence chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition, which asked Lawrence Commissioner Mike Rundle to set up the registry. “In my mind, the primary benefit is symbolic.”

…Childs said people like Barbee are welcome to their opinions on the religious issues of homosexuality, “but as long as we’re in this country, that shouldn’t be the role of government.”

By registering their partnership, the couple would receive a certificate similar to a marriage license.

Childs also said she hopes a registry would provide a toehold in eventually overturning the state ban on gay marriage, saying gay couples should have the same rights as married people when it comes to child custody, insurance or making medical decisions for a partner.

* Gay Kansans kicking the closet door open
* Kansas Equality Coalition

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Pam Spaulding

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