LGBT rights in Kansas
|LGBT rights in Kansas|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 2003|
|Gender identity/expression||Altering sex on birth certificate requires sex reassignment surgery|
|Discrimination protections||Within Government employment only|
|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.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
The U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas rendered laws banning consensual sexual activity unenforceable, including that of Kansas. 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.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Kansas voters adopted a constitutional amendment in April 2005 that said "Marriage shall be constituted by one man and one woman only" and banned granting the "rights or incidents" of marriage to other relationships. Similar restrictions appear in state statutes as well. The cities of Lawrence and Topeka offer domestic partnership benefits.
Legislation was introduced in January 2014 that would allow people motivated by religious opposition to same-sex relationships to refuse to provide services to same-sex couples. On February 12, state House of Representatives passed the legislation by a 72–49 vote. The Senate did not take up the legislation. It was part of a broader movement to anticipate resistance to the recognition of same-sex marriages.
State Court cases
On 30 December 2013, private lawyers in Topeka, filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of two same-sex couples (Roberta and Julia Woodrick of Lawrence and Michael Nelson and Charles Dedmon of Alma) seeking respect for their out-of-state marriage licenses in Kansas for the purpose of filing their taxes as a married couple.
The lawsuit is Nelson v. Kansas Department of Revenue and stems from the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling striking down the core of the DOMA and the implementation of the ruling by the federal government, which declared that under IRS rules, all legally married couples should file their federal taxes as a married couple. The attorneys in Nelson argue that Kansas' Department of Revenue - and a constitutional amendment in Kansas that restricts marriage to different-sex couples - forbids the couples from filing their state taxes honestly.
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the Revenue Department to allow the couples to file joint income tax returns as married. Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, said the state regulations unfairly treated same-sex couples differently.
Adoption and parenting
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. 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.
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. Lawrence is the only jurisdiction in Kansas where such discrimination is prohibited in government and private employment. Salina and Hutchinson had previously had these kinds of discrimination prohibited in government and private employment until the November 2012 election when voters of both cities repealed both anti-discrimination ordinances.
Hate crime laws
Kansas's hate crimes law covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation but not gender identity.
A February 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 39% of Kansas voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 51% thought it should be illegal and 9% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 63% of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 34% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions, 34% opposing all legal recognition and 3% not sure.
A February 2014 poll, also by PPP, found that 44% of voters thought same-sex marriage should be allowed in Kansas, while 48% thought it should not and 8% were not sure. The poll also found that 40% of voters thought that gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, 26% thought they should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry, 32% thought there should be no recognition of a gay couple's relationship and 3% weren't sure.
- New York Times: "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy," June 26, 2003, access April 16, 2011
- State v. Limon, 280 Kan. 275, 122 P.3d 22, October 21, 2005.
- New York Times: "Kansas: Voters Approve Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage," April 6, 2005, accessed April 16, 2011
- State Library of Kansas: Kansas Constitution, Article XV, section 16, accessed April 16, 2011
- Human Resources Campaign: Kansas Marriage/Relationship Recognition Law , accessed April 16, 2011
- Kellaway, Mitch (2014-05-28). "Topeka, Kan., Now Protects Gender Identity, Domestic Partnerships". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- 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.
- "Kansas House passes bill allowing refusal of service to same-sex couples". Cnn.com. 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Hanna, John (February 18, 2014). "Kansas Senate won't consider gay couples discrimination bill". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Merevick, Tony (February 19, 2014). "In One Day, Bills Allowing Anti-LGBT Discrimination Fail In Four States". BuzzFeed. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- "Litigation in Kansas". Freedom to Marry. 2013-12-30. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Same-sex married couples file lawsuit against state over tax treatment". . LJWorld.com. 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- In re I. M. (Kan. Ct. App. 2012). Text
- http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/Opinions/SupCt/2013/20130222/103487.pdf. Retrieved 2013-11-02. Missing or empty
- "Sebelius order protects gay, lesbian state workers". Kansas City Business Journal. August 31, 2007. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- "Salina & Hutchinson repeal anti-discrimination protections". Retrieved 2013-11-02.[dead link]
- Human Resources Campaign: Kansas Hate Crimes Law, accessed April 16, 2011
- "Pat Roberts anonymous to many Kansas voters" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Kansas voters oppose controversial denial of service bill" (PDF). February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.