Looks Like We’re Not [bigoted] in Kansas Anymore…

by Justin DeFreitas

by Justin DeFreitas

Well folks, Kansas is finally getting there.  County by county, they’re beginning to issue same-sex marriage licenses.  I am happy to announce that Olathe, Kansas began officially issuing same-sex marriage licenses after several stop-start decisions because of legal holds and petitions.  I was fortunate enough to talk with one of the couples that initially applied for a license on October 9, 2014.  They even had an informal ceremony performed by a minister offering his services to couples on the courthouse stairs.  Soon after, the Kansas Attorney General put a hold on all same-sex marriage licenses, although applications were still being accepted.  Kaci Campbell and Kim Garner filled out an application on October 9th, but by October 10th the Kansas Attorney General had already blocked any licenses from being issued.  Kaci said after the first delay that the attorney general “…thinks that the judge that allowed us to get marriage license is not qualified to make that kind of decision…If not for activist judges, women would have no rights, right? Slavery would not have been abolished, right? Thank you, Judge, for standing up for ALL individuals’ rights.”  Kaci and Kim were finally able to receive an actual license recently, on November 19.  She contacted me the night before and said “They lifted the ban today in Johnson County, so tomorrow I will finally go get license and be married by the end of the day. The news called and interviewed us tonight, on channel 9 tonight…”  She and Kim still plan “to have another ceremony because the last one wasn’t technically legal.”  I’m so excited for them to have the most fun, creative, and LEGAL ceremony they possibly can!  They are both beautiful, unique people, and I wish them all the best.

Now, while this is certainly great news, it’s not the end of the battle (even in Kansas).  The state of Kansas is still appealing the rights to same-sex marriage.  Although this probably won’t amount to any changes, it’s still something to be concerned about.  Until same-sex marriage is at the very least respected by everyone, it won’t be an easy world for any of us to live in.  Why is it so hard for people to just see love instead of gender and sex and all of the other things that should be secondary?

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Visualize Love

published by Buzzfeed

published by Buzzfeed

I know that on this blog we frequently discuss same-sex marriage and how the current geography of marriage laws is changing.  Right now, there is a lot of gray area and legal disputes, and it can be hard to keep track of what exactly is happening and where.  Buzzfeed created this lovely visual to help you clearly discern what’s happening in each state, and I thought I would share!

One Foot in and One Foot Out

by Tom Toles

by Tom Toles

Kansas is still fighting its losing battle against the allowance of gay marriages.  Really, they’re trying very hard to prevent it.  However, this week some counties finally began to issue marriage licenses this past week.  There are still many legal battles and confusion floating around, but apparently some places have had enough waiting.  What makes this battle interesting is that while some places are already issuing licenses, most places aren’t allowing legal name-changes, driver’s license updates, and other typical after-marriage chores.  Obviously, this is receiving a lot of interest and generating newly inflamed outrage.  If the marriages are being recognized, what is stopping the name changes?  How can these places pretend to support gay marriage if they only allow certain parts.  That is inequality just as much as banning gay marriage completely is.  All of this inconsistency seems to be aimed at driving this case directly back to the Supreme Court.  Frankly, at this point, the Supreme Court taking over and issuing an all-inclusive ruling would probably be the simplest solution.

From the Mouths of Babes

referenced from campustours.tamu.edu

referenced from campustours.tamu.edu

Okay, so maybe college students aren’t exactly babies anymore.  Some of them do have legitimate political opinions, formulated through personal research and attention to current events.  But, as I’m about to display, many of them have little to no idea what’s happening in the real world.  I took a poll of students at Texas A&M University, via several large (widely used) groups online.  Each of these groups requires a Texas A&M certified email to be a member, so it ensured that I would be polling only students.  Texas A&M is considered to be a relatively conservative university, with its agriculture roots and heavy military presence attracting many students from small-town Texas.  Naturally, I thought producing a survey regarding opinions and education surrounding same-sex marriage based here would produce some interesting results.  There were lots of conflicting responses.  The first question was “The Supreme Court recently turned down petitions halting same-sex marriage. This means that (at least temporarily), same-sex marriage is legal in at least five more states, paving the way for countless others to legalize same-sex marriage. What are your feelings about this?”  Out of exactly 100 responses, 61% reported favorable responses such as “It’s about time!”  There were 26% who reported negative feelings such as shock, feeling offended, and being unhappy to hear the report.  The other 13% said they had been keeping up with the news and already knew about the development.

The next question was “Do you think that the Supreme Court is indirectly supporting same-sex marriage through this decision?”  Students reported 65% belief that SCOTUS was supporting same-sex marriage, 22% belief this didn’t show support, and 13% confusion/no opinion about the topic.

The next question got a wide range of responses, as it was open ended.  I asked “Do you know how many states currently allow same-sex marriage?” with simply a blank below the question for them to fill in.  I arranged their answers in groupings of ten for ease of reporting.  49% of those surveyed said they didn’t know or didn’t care to guess.  There were 21% of guesses between one and ten states, with the most common guess being five states.  Frankly, I found this to be a bit shocking.  I know that this is a commonly changing number, especially right now, but by 2010 the number was far greater than 10.  There were 11 guesses between 11-20, and 17 guesses between 21 and 30.  All things considered, I wouldn’t say this is very far off of what I expected.

The next two questions had remarkably similar results, though I don’t consider them to be overly related.  The fourth question was “Do you think that the Supreme Court will eventually have to step in for same-sex marriage to be allowed in all 50 states?”  This is something I myself have spent quite a bit of time pondering, so it formed the basis for an interesting set of statistics.  The overwhelming answer was “yes,” with 71% of the vote.  There was a 24% vote for no, and a 5% vote for “I don’t know,” which I suppose is essentially a lack of vote.  The final question, which I wanted as a base to compare to the rest of the questions, was simply “Do you personally believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized?”  I say it’s simple, but for a lot of people I suppose it isn’t.  It got 68% of votes for “yes,” 16% of the votes for “no,” and 16% for “I don’t know.”

Now, why is this information at all significant.  It’s a sample of a sample.  My opinion is that these statistics are a representation of what’s happening next.  Texas A&M is full of college students, learning and creating their own identities that they will still have when they vote in the future.  Texas A&M is also full of people with religious and conservative backgrounds, in an incredibly conservative state.  If even a majority of the students here believe that same-sex marriage is on its way to be legalized (and agree that it should be), that’s worth noticing.

Oh Kansas…

by Steve Benson

by Steve Benson

Yet again, Kansas has gotten within arm’s reach of issuing same-sex marriage licenses but then been blocked.  This time, a U.S. Justice by the name of Sonia Sotomayor issued a very last-minute stay (literally hours before licenses were set to begin being issued).  She is essentially clearing the way for gay marriage advocates to reply to the ban officially.  As far as I’m concerned, the Supreme Court has made it clear that bans on same-sex marriage won’t be tolerated.  Now we’re just dragging our feet.

Ludicrous Lucifer

by Cal Grondahl formerly of the Standard Examiner

by Cal Grondahl formerly of the Standard Examiner

I’m not here to make fun of anyone or their beliefs.  But come on.  Sometimes it’s hard not to.  The most recent example is undoubtedly one of the more interesting lawsuits filed against same-sex marriage.  A man from South Carolina believes that he is “anointed and assigned as a watchman for the souls of that people errantly identifying and calling themselves lesbian and gay” has decided that the issue of same-sex marriage has nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with religion.  While that viewpoint, in itself, obviously isn’t new or innovative, what he follows this idea with certainly is.  He has filed the lawsuit with the claim that allowing same-sex marriage in South Carolina would directly obstruct his ability to worship.  In effect, he has argued that the freedom of religion clause in the first amendment prohibits same-sex marriage.  I can’t say that I see much real legal basis for this argument.  We’ll have to see how it is treated legally, but I’m certainly curious to see how much attention it garners, if anything purely for creativity.

Delayed but NOT Forgotten

By Christopher Weyant, referenced from Cagle Cartoons

By Christopher Weyant; referenced from Cagle Cartoons

If you’ve been keeping up with all of the drama and confusion regarding same-sex marriage happening in Kansas, as a result of the Supreme Court decisions (or lack thereof) in October, you know that the hearing was supposed to happen today.  That hearing has been delayed.  It opens a lane for more protests and political action to be taken from both sides.  Hopefully, by November 15th, everyone will be ready for some sort of concrete decision.  We can’t avoid progress forever.