LGBT rights in Kansas

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LGBT rights in Kansas
Kansas (US)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 2003
(Lawrence v. Texas)
Gender identity/expression Altering sex on birth certificate requires sex reassignment surgery
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections in state employment
Family rights
Recognition of
None statewide
Kansas Amendment 1 limits marriage to man/woman, places restrictions on non-marriage types of same-sex unions
Adoption Stepparent adoption illegal

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Kansas face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Kansas. Same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples do not have the same protections as opposite-sex couples.

Two lawsuits, one in state court and the other in federal court, are challenging the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

The U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas rendered laws banning consensual sexual activity unenforceable, including that of Kansas.[1] State v. Limon, the first case decided under the Lawrence precedent, invalidated a provision of the state's Romeo and Juliet law that assigned harsher sentences in statutory rape cases where the parties were of the same sex.[2]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]


Kansas recognizes neither same-sex marriages nor any other form of legal recognition of same sex-unions. The state bans same-sex marriage and all other types of same-sex unions both by statute and by constitutional amendment.

The Kansas Supreme Court is reviewing Nelson v. Kansas Department of Revenue, On October 9, 2014, it ordered officials in Johnson County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, though it allowed for court clerks to accept applications for marriage licenses from same-sex couples. It scheduled a hearing for November 6.[3]

Judge Daniel D. Crabtree heard oral arguments on October 31, 2014 in another lawsuit in U.S. district court, Marie v. Moser.[4]

Domestic partnership[edit]

Map of Kansas counties and cities that offer domestic partner benefits either county-wide or in particular cities.
  City offers domestic partner benefits
  County-wide partner benefits through domestic partnership
  County or city does not offer domestic partner benefits

The cities of Lawrence and Topeka have established domestic partnership registries.[5][6]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

In November 2012, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled in the case In the Matter of the Adoption of I. M. that a single person who is not a biological parent of a child cannot petition to adopt that child without terminating the other parent's parental rights. Since Kansas does not recognize same-sex marriages, this ruling effectively prevents same-sex couples from second-parent adoption in Kansas.[7] However, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled on February 22, 2013, in Frazier v. Goudschaal that a partner of a biological parent may receive parental rights according to the best interest of the children in some circumstances, such as where there is no second parent and thus no termination of parental rights is involved, and the partner has assumed a parenting role of the children.[8]

Discrimination protection[edit]

Map of Kansas counties and cities that have sexual orientation and/or gender identity anti–employment discrimination ordinances
  Sexual orientation and gender identity with anti–employment discrimination ordinance
  Sexual orientation and gender identity solely in public employment

Since an executive order by Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2007, Kansas has prohibited discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity in government employment.[9]

The cities of Lawrence,[10] Topeka,[11] and Roeland Park[12] prohibit discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity in government and private employment.

On November 6, 2012, the voters of the cities of Salina and Hutchinson both voted to repeal both cities anti-discrimination ordinances on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.[13]

In January 2014, Kansas House Bill 2453 was introduced which would allow people motivated by religious opposition to same-sex relationships to refuse to provide services to same-sex couples.[14] On February 12, state House of Representatives passed the legislation by a 72–49 vote.[15] The Senate did not take up the legislation.[16] It was part of a broader movement to anticipate resistance to the recognition of same-sex marriages.[17]

Hate crime laws[edit]

Kansas's hate crimes law covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation but not gender identity.[18]


  1. ^ New York Times: "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy," June 26, 2003, access April 16, 2011
  2. ^ State v. Limon, 280 Kan. 275, 122 P.3d 22, October 21, 2005.
  3. ^ Johnson, Chris (October 10, 2014). "Kansas AG seeks to halt same-sex marriages in his state". Washington Blade. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hanna, John (October 31, 2014). "Kansas Urges Judge Not to Rule on Gay Marriage". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  5. ^ Kellaway, Mitch (2014-05-28). "Topeka, Kan., Now Protects Gender Identity, Domestic Partnerships". Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  6. ^ Lawhorn, Chad (August 1, 2007). "Domestic partnership registry opens today". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ In re I. M. (Kan. Ct. App. 2012). Text
  8. ^ Retrieved 2013-11-02.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Sebelius order protects gay, lesbian state workers". Kansas City Business Journal. August 31, 2007. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Cities and Counties with Non-Discrimination Ordinances that Include Gender Identity". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ "Salina & Hutchinson repeal anti-discrimination protections". Retrieved 2013-11-02. [dead link]
  14. ^ Lowry, Brian (February 14, 2014). "Kan. Senate president: Bill that allows service refusal to same-sex couples on religious grounds unlikely to pass". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Kansas House passes bill allowing refusal of service to same-sex couples". 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  16. ^ Hanna, John (February 18, 2014). "Kansas Senate won't consider gay couples discrimination bill". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  17. ^ Merevick, Tony (February 19, 2014). "In One Day, Bills Allowing Anti-LGBT Discrimination Fail In Four States". BuzzFeed. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Kansas Hate Crimes Law, accessed April 16, 2011