Mary Sanchez

Time for Kansas to move past same-sex marriage hang-ups

Just in time for November elections, conservative candidates believe they got a gift.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused this week to take up a lower court ruling on bans of same-sex marriage. It was instantly a fresh point to pound for politicians who usher values voters to the polls, hyping outrage that marriage will be undermined by gay people being able to legally wed.

Johnson County Judge Kevin Moriarty made the news local, directing county clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses. His view is that the state’s ban on gay marriage is trumped by federal supremacy. A statement decrying “activist judges” was quickly sent from Gov. Sam Brownback’s office.

Just once, it’d be nice to hear a conservative politician acknowledge reality.

The nation is moving like a freight train when it comes to acceptance of homosexuals as just another portion of society’s fabric. The tipping point occurred a long time ago.

It probably happened between when Ellen DeGeneres got her talk show and “Modern Family” was cast, both now beloved by fans. Michael Sam might have been in middle school when understandings of homosexuality reached a critical mass.

Somewhere in America, yet another child came out to his or her parents. Mom and Dad struggled but knew they loved their son or daughter just the same.

Where is the politician willing to gracefully explain to the fearful that a gay couple can walk into the courthouse and declare their love official with a marriage license? It will have no bearing on the sanctity of anyone else’s vows. The ruling does not force churches to perform gay weddings. People’s right to be offended by homosexuality is intact. Those views are protected. They’re just increasingly out of step.

All this means is that Kansas same-sex couples can gain the tax and insurance benefits, the medical rights and other legal duties of marriage. Nothing more.

As an example, Missouri’s Consolidated Health Care Plan announced Thursday that it will enroll same-sex spouses of state employees and retirees with valid, out-of-state marriage licenses. Straight people didn’t lose benefits.

There will be more legal haggling. Kansas plans to defend its ban at a yet-unknown cost to taxpayers. The American Civil Liberties Union is scouting for attorneys to aid its side of the argument.

But the nation has moved on; it’s time for Kansas to as well.

To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or email msanchez@kcstar.com or Twitter@msanchezcolumn.

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