Like most gay people, I am saddened, but not surprised, by yesterday’s vote in Kansas to add the definition of marriage (as one man to one woman) to the state’s constitution. I am especially troubled by the sweeping nature of the provision. Not only does it define marriage, but it also prohibits the state from authorizing civil unions. The measure passed with 70 percent of Kansans in favor. All but one county, Douglas, voted for the proposition.
Kansas is now the 18th state to amend its constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Voters in every state who have had the chance to vote on the issue, have approved, in many cases by margins of more than two-to-one, measures which so define marriage.
The people of Kansas have spoken. I wish they had voted differently than they had. But, now that the results are in, we must recognize their reality. Our task now is not to condemn the Kansas vote as HRC and NGLTF have done, but to figure out what it means.
I believe that the citizens of Kansas, like the citizens of Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi and eight other states last year, voted the way they did, because they feared that courts would soon require states to recognize same-sex unions as marriages. While they may be favorably disposed to gay people, most Americans see marriage as a union between two individuals of the opposite sex.
We need a change of strategy, to take this battle out of the courts and to talk directly to the American people and to listen to their concerns. I believe the best strategy for now is to pursue civil unions in state legislatures. It seems that while there is a consensus in favor of civil unions (at least in a number of states), there is widespread opposition, even in the “bluest” of states to calling such unions marriages.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com