State Representatives Jan Pauls (D, Hutchinson), and Lance Kinzer (R, Olathe) surely must have lost their minds. At a time when Maryland is voting to legalize same-sex marriage, Washington State is in the process of recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state, and Hawaii just legalized civil unions for its gay and lesbian citizens, the two Kansas lawmakers have filed a motion to dredge up an archaic state law that would criminalize homosexuality.
Although one remains on Kansas’ books, all state laws criminalizing gay and lesbian relationships were struck down by the United States Supreme Court in 2003. Writing for the majority in the case of Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Anthony Kennedy said “if protected conduct is made criminal and the law which does so remains unexamined for its substantive validity, its stigma might remain even if it were not enforceable as drawn for equal protection reasons. When homosexual conduct is made criminal by the law of the State, that declaration in and of itself is an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.”
Disregarding the US Supreme Court, the President of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, John Wheeler, said in 2008 that “even to this day, homosexuality is a crime in Kansas.” His warning, made to a group of adult college students and caught on video, raised questions about the ability of gay and lesbian Kansans to live free from arrest, and to receive fair trials in our courts.
“Representatives Pauls’ endorsement of an unconstitutional statute that’s used to threaten and discriminate against law-abiding Kansas citizens is an outrage,” said Thomas Witt, state Chairman for the Kansas Equality Coalition. “She took an oath as both judge and state representative to uphold the Constitution. We insist that Representative Kinzer and she be immediately removed as Chair and Ranking Minority from the House Judiciary Committee. Legislators who willfully ignore the Constitution should never be in positions of leadership and responsibility.”
Pauls and Kinzer clearly have no business either playing lawmakers or wielding power over their constituents. This is right up there with criminalizing miscarriages, which P.S. – is going on in Georgia. It is beyond me why politicians, or anyone for that matter, thinks it is within the scope of their abilities to dictate the conditions of one’s birth. We were born this way, folks. Drop your obsession over our bedroom habits. It’s unbecoming.
The good news here is that the U.S. Supreme Court will be forced to step in here and send these two brats to their rooms…eventually. In the meantime, they are offending and harming countless gay and lesbian families and at-risk youth, as well as sending an emboldening message to those who would do us harm. These two lawmakers may succeed in momentarily passing a law criminalizing our birthright, but it will be history that finds the two of them in violation of our human rights. S
Frankly, we can hardly believe this. Are you shocked to hear Kansas is re-criminalizing homosexuality?