Staff editorial: No fair

By Editorial Board

The mixing of religious based ideology and politics continued last Tuesday, as same-sex marriage and civil unions were banned overwhelmingly in Kansas.

With final, unofficial results from 104 of the state’s 105 counties on Tuesday, 414,235, or 70 percent, voted “yes,” and 178,167 or 29 percent, voted “no.”

The ban reaffirms the state’s long-standing policy of recognizing only marriages between one man and one woman. It also declares that only such unions are entitled to the “rights and incidents” of marriage, prohibiting the state from authorizing civil unions for homosexual couples.

But the real issue is whether this should be decided by states or by the federal government. Can a state really decide if this issue really does violate the rights of some heterosexuals, or should that be the responsibility of the federal government who should uphold the Constitution and apply the same rights to all citizens?

Every time there is a vote, gays lose more and more rights. America is mostly Christian and family oriented, and if this issue is decided by majority vote, gays will lose the battle for their rights. In Kansas, they not only lost the right to marriage but also the right to a civil union – losing all claim to all the legal and economic benefits of marriage and unions.

Voting over this issue is unfair. The states deciding these issues – mostly areas without major metropolitain cities – lack homosexual representation in the electorate, in government and in general politics. Furthermore, voting at the state level can lead to inconsistencies. Differing standards between states mean that all same-sex couples have to do is go to a state that allows same-sex marriage and tie the knot there. If heterosexual rights are violated when two gay people get married in the same state, then they are violated when the couple gets married in the next state – so how does this ban in one state lessen the perceived impact of gay marriage on straight people? If anything, there should be a nationwide law on the right of gay marriage.

It is unfair to deny any American citizens the right to marry when it comes with such specific advantages not available otherwise. Anytime the government takes away the right of any individual in the private sphere – where it does not really have a direct influence on the welfare of the state – it oversteps its boundaries.

This issue should go to the federal government, and in any case such as this – where the citizens’ civil rights are violated for no other apparent reason than that of religious convictions – we should err on the side of civil rights. Homosexuals are no lesser citizens than the rest of us, and every citizen should have the same rights as the next one – and that includes the right to love and to marry.