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Friday, February 16, 2007
(10:12 AM) | Stephen:
Another City Takes a Stand For Equality

I just recently discovered "In This Moment," one of whose contributors - Diane Silver - lives in Lawrence, KS and blogs on political goings on here in Kansas.

Ms. Silver wrote a post yesterday about House Bill 2299, which would bar any city from establishing a registry or other way of recognizing domestic partnerships that are not allowed under Kansas state law. This bill is in response to Lawrence, KS, starting to compile just such a registry. Pretty straightforward stuff, really, in conservative Kansas.

Except that the chair of the Legislative Committee is suddenly concerned about what this bill means in regards to "home rule," that is, the right for cities to govern themselves. Imagine that. A conservative - from Olathe! - that is actually concerned, even when it comes to the politics of homosexuality, about whether the government is overstepping its bounds.

Rep. Siegfried is right to be concerned. A few years ago voters in Wyandotte County, KS approved a measure that allowed Sunday liquor sales in defiance of Kansas state law (brief history found here). Even before the Kansas Supreme Court had ruled on the legality of Wyandotte's actions, several other cities made the same move. The State Legislature decided to change the law in order to make sure that cities wouldn't be able to opt out of any other liquor regulations, especially those dealing with taxes.

It must be the specter of a similar revolt that has Siegried worried. Passing this legislation may actually weaken the state's hand in regulating marriage and domestic partnerships. Whatever happens at this point, it was a well-played move on the part of Lawrence. Good on them.

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