Invalidates Kansas Law; Reaction Mixed
Capital-Journal, June 26, 2003
616 SE Jefferson Street, Topeka, KS 66607
Fax: 785-295-1230, Email: email@example.com
By Cait Purinton, The Capital-Journal
Gay, lesbian and transgender activists in Kansas are
celebrating a decision made today by the U.S. Supreme Court that reverses
legal bans on homosexual sex.
The 6-3 vote nullifies laws in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma
and Missouri that prohibit oral and anal sex between same-sex couples.
“The decision announced by the Supreme Court of the
United States today renders Kansas adult homosexual sodomy law unenforceable
and unconstitutional,” said Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline.
“Accordingly, we are providing notice to counties and district attorneys and
other law enforcement officials of the nature of the Supreme Court decision
and its effect on this little-used Kansas law.”
Christine Robinson, former University of Kansas women’s
studies instructor who sought to overturn Kansas’ sodomy law, said the
change gives activists more legal standing to amend other laws concerning
gays, lesbians and transgender people.
“This essentially invalidates the part of Kansas’
criminal sodomy law that criminalizes private, adult, consenting sexual
activity between members of the same sex,” she said. “It’s a huge
victory in that sense.”
Pedro Irigonegaray, a longtime Topeka attorney who also
has lobbied against the state’s sodomy law, said the decision is a signal
“that equality under the law applies to all citizens regardless of their
Irigonegaray hoped the Supreme Court’s decision will
accelerate movement in Topeka toward the passage of an anti-discrimination
ordinance aimed at protecting homosexuals. Last fall, the Topeka City Council
denied passage of such an ordinance.
“Sexual orientation is not a reason for discrimination
as a matter of law,” Irigonegaray said. “I’ve been saying that for a
long time. Now it’s not me saying it. Now it’s the Supreme Court of the
United States saying it.”
Not everyone is celebrating. Fred Phelps, pastor of
Westboro Baptist Church and an anti-gay activist, said the decision marks a
monumental day in history.
“It’s a harbinger of doom. It’s the death knell of
American civilization,” he said. “It’s a covenant with death and an
agreement with Hell.”
He said if states can’t prohibit homosexual sex, laws
against incest and bigamy can’t be enforced because those acts also may
occur between consenting adults.
“This Supreme Court now says that the constitution of
the United States forbids states to declare, by their laws, that the sin of
sodomy is a crime,” Phelps said. “Therefore this constitution now
justifies and promotes this abominable and detestable crime against nature.”
He said today’s ruling opens the door for same-sex
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