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Topeka City Council rejects domestic partner registry

Gay | Lesbian | Transgender | San Diego

Bill Bunten

TOPEKA, Kan. – The City Council has voted against establishing a domestic partnership registry after the mayor said the change would push Kansas’ capital city closer to legalizing gay marriage.

The registry, which failed on a 5-4 vote, would have allowed bi, gay and transgendered couples the ability to obtain paperwork, proving that they are in a long-term relationship, so they could obtain the benefits married couples receive from their employers.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Councilwoman Denise Everhart was among those who voted against the proposal, saying afterward, “I listened to my constituents, and they asked me to vote ‘no.’”

Councilmembers Everhart, John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz, Bob Archer and Richard Harmon voted against the measure, while Andrew Gray, Chad Manspeaker, Karen Hiller and Larry Wolgast voted in favor of it.

Manspeaker expressed dismay at the outcome, saying it reminded him of Rev. Martin Luther King’s statement that “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

But Everhart and Harmon told reporters they thought the matter wasn’t a local issue and should instead be addressed at the state or federal levels. They also said the registry wouldn’t really have conferred any rights on anyone.

Mayor Bill Bunten spoke against the proposal. Earlier this month, he was reported as saying, “I believe that permitting civil unions and gay marriage amounts to a minimizing of the need for a man and a woman to have a family.”

Members of the Topeka Chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition say they hope to move forward with plans. However, normally six months must pass before an ordinance can come before the council again.



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Posted by on Dec 8, 2011. Filed under Around the Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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