Red Letter Day

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The domestic partner registry: The Candidates speak

Below you will find the official pubic-stated opinions of all six Lawrence City Commission candidates on the proposed domestic partner registry for Lawrence. I am pretty sure that this is the first time all of these have been in one place for comparison. Click on each candidate's name to be linked to the complete interview from which the domestic registry opinion was excerpted.

A couple notable trends stand out:

1. The three "progressive" candidates are the only ones who forthrightly said "yes" they will support the registry.
2. None of the "developer" candidates gave an outright "no" answer, but none said "yes" either. All of them seemed to weasel out of giving any kind of straight answer (pun intended). Judging from the answers Dever and Chestnut gave, I think it may be possible to educate these folks on the need and desirability of a domestic partnership ordinance.

Even though the Kansas Equality PAC has officially endorsed the three progressive candidates (Maynard-Moody, Schauner, and Highberger), an endorsement I agree with, we should try to educate the other candidates as well about why the domestic partner ordinance is both good for business and good for the town as a whole. Both Dever and Chestnut I think could be brough around to this point of view, although I doubt Bush (as a Southern Baptist minister) would.

Anyway, here are the views of the six candidates:

Carey Maynard-Moody: I'm very supportive of it. Human rights should not distinguish between race, religion, gender, sexual orientation... We all benefit from protecting human rights.

David Schauner: Thanks for your inquiry about this important issue. I voted to support creation of the registry and believe that it will offer a valuable benefit to all unmarried couples without regard to sexual orientation if their employers choose to make those benefits available.

Boog Highberger: I support creation of a local domestic partnership registry. I share the view of former Attorney Phill Kline (as reported in the Journal World) that a domestic partnership registry would not conflict with the recently passed Marriage Amendment. A domestic partnership registry could help give a lot of Lawrence citizens access to health care benefits that they are not eligible for now.

Mike Dever: I am against discrimination of any kind. I believe that we as a community must be prepared to defend the rights of our citizens. I need to become more informed on this issue to be able to make a sound decision as a commissioner if I am elected.

Rob Chestnut: I would like to ensure that we are not going to have any legal entanglements going forward in considering the domestic partner registry. Secondly, I need to understand more about the potential benefits that it offers citizens of Lawrence. I am not aware of those employers that offer benefits to domestic partners, so I would like to make an informed decision on the impact of the ordinance. Finally, I would like to know what the cost is to the city. This would allow me to make an informed decision.

James Bush: Thank you for asking this question that so many in the community are pondering during this election season. I haven't seen the actual wording of the proposed ordinance so I may be at a disadvantage to address specific language but, I do have an opinion. First, I am opposed to discrimination in any form. I do know the city has an ordinance that addresses discrimination in hiring practices. The questions I have in regard to this registry is what the economic impacts are from such a registry and have these consequences been fully considered.

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