Metro Weekly

Kansas GOP Wants to Fully Condemn Gay Marriage

The Kansas GOP's proposed platform condemns same-sex marriage, calls for a national ban on the practice, and opposes gender-affirming care.

Kansas State House – Photo: Jeffrey L. Cohen, via Flickr

The Kansas Republican Party’s 2024 platform, once again, condemns same-sex marriage as insufficient to replace “traditional family” structures.

According to the Kansas Reflector, in an early unreleased version of its proposed platform, the party cites God’s guidance as the justification for opposing same-sex nuptials.

“God created man and woman,” the platform reads. “Therefore, as defined by the Kansas Constitution, the benefits and privileges of marriage exist only between one man and one woman. …. Most of our societal ills are the result of godlessness and the resultant broken family structure. Government cannot replace God or the traditional family.”

Same-sex marriages are currently legal in Kansas, as they are across the United States, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in the  Obergefell v. Hodges case, in which the nation’s highest court struck down existing state-level bans on the practice as unconstitutional.

But some conservatives, including at least two sitting Supreme Court justices, have called on the court to reverse its ruling in Obergefell.

If either the Obergefell or Lawrence decisions were overturned, Kansas’s laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying and criminalizing intimate relations between two people of the same gender would immediately take effect.

It could then be enforced by local police and prosecutors, with the revival of the latter law potentially leading to LGBTQ Kansans being fined or imprisoned for up to six months in jail.

The Kansas GOP’s proposed platform justifies opposition to same-sex marriage, asserting that “children’s future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage.”

The platform also states that legislatures and judges should not approve any other arrangement equivalent to a marriage, such as a civil union, for a same-sex couple, and calls for a nationwide constitutional amendment that would permanently outlaw the institution of same-sex marriage.

While several Republican lawmakers told the Reflector that they didn’t oppose same-sex marriage per se, they also largely sidestepped the issue of whether opposition to same-sex marriage should remain in the platform.

State Rep. Mark Schreiber (R-Emporia), despite not personally opposing same-sex nuptials, dismissed the inclusion of the platform plank as a reflection of the diversity of views on the issue among the party faithful, saying he largely doesn’t believe the platform influences lawmakers’ actions.

“In the past, I haven’t heard people come to the floor and committee, say, ‘Well, this is on the platform and this is why we have to pass this bill or not pass it,'” he said. “I don’t know that it plays a strong role in legislation.”

State Rep. Adam Thomas (R-Olathe), who declined to share his personal views on same-sex marriage, said the issue has largely been resolved by the Supreme Court.

“If [same-sex marriage is] the law of the land, we can continue to say there are certain things based off our belief structure that we may not agree with,” he said. “And I think that’s acceptable and okay to be in a platform.”

The full party platform, which will be debated at the state GOP convention on January 26 and 27, also has a plank stating that parents have the right to direct their children’s education and health care according to their moral values and religion, without government influence.

Conservatives typically espouse “parental rights” when it comes to limiting access to lessons, books, or information about topics that don’t match their worldview, or when deciding not to have their children vaccinated.

However, it is ironic that Kansas Republicans, while vehemently defending the right of parents to make decisions unimpeded by government, have also pushed for laws that would ban gender-affirming care for minors, taking the choice out of the hands of parents who affirm their children’s identity.

A ban on gender-affirming care for minors passed the legislature last year, but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

The platform also opposes gender confirmation surgery and gender-affirming care, more broadly, declaring treatments for gender dysphoria to be “dangerous, unproven and contrary to our God-given natural law.”

The platform rails against “social emotional learning,” so-called “critical race theory” or “diversity, equity, and inclusion” initiatives, arguing that such topics merely promote divisiveness in society.

It opposes abortion, as well as the expansion of Medicaid programs for low-income individuals, and defends the right of people to carry and possess firearms. 

State Rep. Vic Miller (D-Topeka) criticized the leaked parts of the GOP platform, accusing Republicans of avoiding pressing issues like cannabis legalization and tax relief. 

“In order to avoid addressing those real issues, they create ones to distract people,” he told the Reflector. “If you walk down the street and ask people what’s on their mind, nobody would come up with these issues until they stir it up. So it’s issue creation more than it is addressing issues that are really affecting everyday people.”

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