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Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka
Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka, Inc., formerly Equal Justice Coalition, formed in September 2002 after the Topeka City Council voted against expanding the Human Relations Ordinance to include protection from discrimination to all citizens based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka, Inc.
P.O. Box 3824
Topeka, KS 66604
Executive Committee Members
Benedette Koslover
Chair Luc Bensimon
Interim Secretary Stephanie Mott
Treasurer Liatris Studer
About Our Chapter
Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka, Inc. works to secure fair treatment for all citizens, especially with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. We recognize the interconnectedness of all forms of oppression and we seek alliances with other organization to combat racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression.

In working toward the goals of redefining Topeka as a fair-minded city and creating social and political change, Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka works toward securing fair treatment and equal rights for all citizens, especially with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity through:

Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka facilitates education in schools, clubs, civic organizations, faith-based institutions, and through workshops. The importance of educating the general community, allies, and others is recognized as one of the key elements to creating change. This education will also be facilitated through public awareness materials, media releases, and public speaking events. Please contact Travis Barnhart, Chair of KEC of Topeka, if you are interested in helping, hosting, or receiving an educational event.

Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka is involved with lobbying, talking with voters, going door-to-door to identify supportive voters, and working toward both passing and retaining anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity in the city of Topeka, KS. Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka supports educating lawmakers about the need for progressive legislation.

Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka is comprised of supportive allies and individuals who recognize the importance of justice and fair treatment for all citizens in Topeka, KS. We are committed to building a cross-cultural and diverse coalition that is reflective of our community. We are collaborating with clergy, professors, the business community, social service organization, and many other individuals and groups. Additionally, we continue to meet and build partnerships with all types of community leaders and interested individuals. Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka is also committed to forming a united front with a clear, strong voice about the need for equality and fair treatment for all people.

Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka is currently made up of volunteers and it is because of people's commitment and support for these issues that we are able to continue growing and be successful in our mission. Please contact our secretary, Don Miller, to see how you can become a volunteer.

Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka is committed to helping achieve equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals across the State of Kansas. It is because of this commitment that Equal Justice Coalition transitioned to become the Topeka chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition.
Topeka News & Events

When: November 17th, 2014, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Where: UUFT (4775 sw 21st street)

[ Posted: Wednesday Aug 13 2014, 3:29 pm | More Details...]

Greetings all -

The hearing on the suit against the state to overturn the marriage ban has been tentatively rescheduled for next Tuesday, October 28.

It appears the Kansas Attorney General's office is playing delaying games with this case by waiting until the last possible moment to file documents with the court. A last-second filing today has made it virtually impossible for everyone to be prepared for a hearing tomorrow.

Don't look at the delay as a setback. There is always the chance that, without even the necessity of a hearing, Judge Crabtree could issue an injunction blocking the state from continuing to enforce the marriage ban. But that's speculative - I wouldn't schedule a honeymoon around it.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 23 2014, 6:37 pm | More Details...]

As of this writing on the morning of October 23, the marriage issue here in Kansas remains unsettled.

On Monday, October 6, the United States Supreme Court upheld the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings in two cases overturning state bans on marriage equality: Utah and Oklahoma. Both states in the past twelve months had their bans overturned by Federal district courts. You may remember the scenes almost a year ago in Utah of happy couples rushing to get marriage licenses before being blocked by an appeal from their state's Attorney General. Both states lost their appeals to the 10th Circuit - in June, Utah's ban was again ruled unconstitutional, followed by Oklahoma's a couple of weeks later.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 23 2014, 10:31 am | More Details...]

The march to full marriage equality progresses.

Here's a quick timeline of last week's fast-moving events. Be sure to read through to the end - there's some great info there!


- The US Supreme Court let stand summer rulings in Utah and Oklahoma that invalidated those states' bans on same sex marriage.

- The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted their stay on their June and July rulings.

- Since Kansas is in the 10th Circuit, their rulings apply here. With that, Equality Kansas members went to their selected county courthouses to apply for marriage licenses. All were denied the right to apply.

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 15 2014, 9:53 am | More Details...]

Just a short while ago, in a three-page order, Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss ordered the Johnson County District Court to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

He has set a hearing on the matter for November 6.

In his order, Justice Nuss directed the Attorney General to be prepared to explain why the 10th Circuit rulings in Kitchen v Herbert and Bishop v Smith don't apply to Kansas.

This is precisely the scenario Governor Brownback and AG Schmidt have been doing everything possible to avoid - if you look at their public statements all this week, you see no mention of their oaths to the United States constitution and their obligation to uphold the rulings of Federal courts. They talk only of the Kansas constitution.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 7:04 pm | More Details...]

The ACLU of Kansas today filed a lawsuit against district court clerks in Douglas and Sedgwick counties for their refusal to issue marriage applications to two same-sex couples, despite the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals lifting its stay on marriage for same-sex couples on Monday. Kansas officials have since attempted to block the issuance of marriage licenses after the first and only couple successfully obtained a marriage license and wed in Johnson County today. The ACLU of Kansas will file a motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order over the weekend and will seek to have it heard promptly next week.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 5:22 pm | More Details...]

This morning, October 10, 2014, Kelli and Angela were married in a brief ceremony at the Johnson County courthouse in Olathe, Kansas. The ceremony was officiated by their pastor, after which they both returned to work.

Kelli and Angela are grateful for the outpouring of congratulations, well-wishes, and support from around our great state and nation. They are celebrating their marriage in a typically Kansan way: Privately, with family and close friends. They ask that we respect their privacy, and they look forward to the day when same-sex marriages are no more newsworthy than any other marriage.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 3:55 pm | More Details...]

If you or someone you know has applied for a marriage license IN JOHNSON COUNTY as a same-sex couple, please email the Equality Kansas office immediately.

We need to talk to you about the legal ramifications of the Attorney General's motion to block your marriage from taking place.

Email witt@eqks.org. Please include the date you applied, and your contact info.


[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 1:40 pm | More Details...]

In reaction to the breaking news that the Kansas Attorney General is seeking to halt same-sex marriages:

"Sam Brownback and Attorney General Schmidt need to stop playing election year politics with people's lives and allow these legal marriages to proceed. The Federal courts have ruled, and we all know how this will end. Delaying the inevitable is a waste of time and taxpayer money, and a gross injustice to LGBT Kansans and their families."

-- Thomas Witt, Executive Director, Equality Kansas
[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 12:28 pm | More Details...]

Dear Equality Kansas members, allies and supporters -

Equality Kansas, when making endorsements, considers a number of factors in weighing our decisions. In order of importance, we consider:

1. Voting record as a public official;
2. Membership in Equality Kansas, or whether a candidate is a member of the LGBT population;
3. Responses to policy questionnaires sent to all candidates immediately after the June filing deadline;
4. Public statements regarding LGBT equality issues.

[ Posted: Friday Oct 10 2014, 9:59 am | More Details...]

Hi all -

Many questions are now coming in about what to do if you entered into a legal marriage outside of Kansas (such as Iowa, California, or even Canada).

IMPORTANT: If you have legally married in another jurisdiction, DO NOT apply for a Kansas marriage license. You are already married. Applying to marry in Kansas if you have legally married in another jurisdiction is unlawful.

HOWEVER: If you entered into a civil union or domestic partnership, you are not considered married. I believe some state allowed unions/partnerships to be converted to marriages, and if you have taken that step, you are married. Otherwise, you're not, and you should apply for a Kansas marriage license.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 9 2014, 4:31 pm | More Details...]

With those words, Johnson County's chief judge, the Hon. Kevin Moriarty, directed his clerks and 10th District judges to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Kansas 10th Judidical District should not be confused with the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The first is a state court that handles basic Kansas criminal cases, local lawsuits, probate, and so on. The second is the Federal court of appeals, which is the last stop on the road to the US Supreme Court.

[ Posted: Thursday Oct 9 2014, 7:06 am | More Details...]

The Hon. Kevin Moriarty, the chief judge of the 10th Judicial District in Johnson County, has just issued an order giving the go-ahead for same sex marriage. From the introduction:

In the interest of justice and to avoid the uncertainty that has arisen in light of recent federal court rulings about the constitutionality of state constitutional and/or statutory prohibitions against marriage by same-sex individuals, the clerk of the district court is hereby directed to issue marriage licenses to all individuals, including same-sex individuals, provided they are otherwise qualified to marry.

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 8 2014, 3:16 pm | More Details...]

Hi all -

Here's where we are as of this morning - Yesterday afternoon, the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration (they run the state courts) issued guidance to court clerks and judges.

The short version: Be careful, you might get sued.

The longer version:

The guidance essentially says to court clerks "don't argue" with people coming in for marriage license applications. Take the application, and let the chief judge of each district determine eligibility. The OJA also cautioned judges they may get sued no matter what they do with these applications. From the OJA's email:

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 8 2014, 11:53 am | More Details...]

Greetings all -

It's been a busy 28 hours.

Yesterday, Equality Kansas members around the state went to their local county courthouses to apply for marriage licenses. All were denied.

This morning, in what I believe is the first, Julia and Gina went to the Reno County Courthouse in Hutchinson. They were allowed to apply for a marriage license.

The staff of the district court congratulated them, and told them to come back on the 10th, at the end of the three-day waiting period.

[ Posted: Tuesday Oct 7 2014, 12:36 pm | More Details...]

This just in: The United States Supreme Court has just denied certiorari (declined to hear) all current Circuit Court appeals on marriage bans.

This includes the 10th Circuit case in Oklahoma and Utah.

The language of the 10th Circuit case, ruling in favor of marriage equality, states that should the Supreme Court refuse to hear the appeal, the stay on same-sex marriages would be automatically lifted.

Kansas is in the 10th Circuit. This ruling may very well include us. We are talking to our attorneys at this very moment looking for guidance.

[ Posted: Monday Oct 6 2014, 9:09 am | More Details...]

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