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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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Address
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:

EDUCATION
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.

POLITICAL ACTION
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.

COALITION BUILDING
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.


VOLUNTEERS
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.

SUPPORTING STATE-WIDE EFFORTS
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

Greetings all -

This is a follow-up to our previous breaking news that the Kansas Supreme Court has lifted its stay on marriages in Johnson County. The high points from their order:

- Johnson County may begin issuing marriage licenses to all previous applicants first thing tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

- Johnson County Chief Judge Moriarty was acting within his authority to interpret state law, the state constitution, and the various rulings and orders from the Federal courts, when deciding whether to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

[ Posted: Tuesday Nov 18 2014, 6:36 pm | More Details...]

Moments ago, the Kansas Supreme Court lifted the stay on marriage license issuance in Johnson County. From the order:

"The court orders that its October 10 temporary stay of Chief Judge Moriarty's Amended Administrative Order 14-11 be lifted immediately."

Those couples with applications pending in Johnson County may go pick up their marriage licenses as early as tomorrow.

The order is lengthy, and we are reviewing it now for its impact statewide. More to follow.
[ Posted: Tuesday Nov 18 2014, 5:10 pm | More Details...]

Greetings all -

The Kansas Supreme Court is currently conducing private deliberations on the State v Moriarty case, where Attorney General Schmidt demanded in October that same-sex marriages be stopped.

There will be no hearing, and no oral arguments. We are hoping the court issues an order or ruling today, or at least within the next few days.

Some counties are issuing marriage licenses without waiting for the Kansas court to rule - they consider the US Supreme Court's denial of a stay of Judge Crabtree's ruling enough to proceed. Some counties are accepting applications pending a ruling from our state Supreme Court, while others are refusing to do anything, including accepting applications, unless given a specific order from a higher court.

[ Posted: Monday Nov 17 2014, 12:07 pm | More Details...]

Good morning -

Marriage has broken out across Kansas! Well, in some places. In others, we're going to have to keep up the fight until our rights are fully recognized.

Here's what we know, county by county, about marriage license applications and issuance. If you have solid information about any counties not on this list, or new information about those that are, please email me at witt@eqks.org. As we get more information throughout the day and over the weekend, we'll post it on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/EqualityKansas

[ Posted: Friday Nov 14 2014, 9:44 am | More Details...]

Good morning -

Get ready for some bumps along the way to full marriage equality.

Unfortunately, Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt are digging in their heels and vowing to continue the fight against full equality for LGBT couples. Schmidt is trying to make the case the Federal court ruling applies only to Douglas and Sedgwick counties, the homes of the two couples who are part of the ACLU lawsuit.

Here's what we can expect today and in the near-term:

[ Posted: Thursday Nov 13 2014, 7:33 am | More Details...]

The stay has been lifted by the United States Supreme Court. From the order:

"The application for stay presented to Justice Sotomayor and by her referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by Justice Sotomayor is vacated."

GO GET MARRIED.
[ Posted: Wednesday Nov 12 2014, 4:34 pm | More Details...]

Not quite. We're waiting for the US Supreme Court to decide whether to keep Sotomayor's stay in place, or to lift the stay and let marriages proceed. As of this writing, Wednesday, Nov 12 at 6:40am, that has not yet happened.

Nothing may continue to happen. Something may happen. We don't know. We will put the word out the moment we learn something.
[ Posted: Wednesday Nov 12 2014, 6:44 am | More Details...]

And now this: US Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor has just ordered a new stay on the issuance of marriage licenses in Kansas, granting Attorney General Derek Schmidt his request.

The order is here: https://www.facebook.com/EqualityKansas/photos/a.219742414706143.67146.120348131312239/963745190305858/?l=dfcfe07c25

HOWEVER: She's giving the parties til 5pm Eastern (4pm Central) tomorrow to respond. Given that tomorrow is a legal holiday and courts across the state and nation will be closed, she's clearly in a hurry to resolve the Kansas question as quickly as possible. We could very well still have marriages on Wednesday.

[ Posted: Monday Nov 10 2014, 4:49 pm | More Details...]

Federal District Court judge Daniel Crabtree has just granted an injunction blocking enforcement of the Kansas ban on marriage equality.

HOWEVER: He has stayed his order until 5pm on November 11, pending appeal to the 10th Circuit by the Kansas Attorney General.

Short version: No marriages until November 12 at the earliest.

This is the victory we've been hoping for, but we still have another week, at least, to wait.

More news as it comes in.

[ Posted: Tuesday Nov 4 2014, 2:42 pm | More Details...]

Greetings all -

The hearing before US District Judge Daniel Crabtree concluded just moments ago.

At the conclusion of the proceeding, he stated that he would be issuing a written order "very soon." My understanding of initial reports is that the order may come in a matter of just a few days.

According to our Equality Kansas State Chair, Sandra Meade, the judge extensively questioned the Assistant Attorney General arguing the state's side. Sandra says the judge seemed "incredulous" at times, asking the AG's office how their arguments got "from here to there."

[ Posted: Friday Oct 31 2014, 4:07 pm | More Details...]

Greetings all -

Judge Crabtree has set a hearing in the ACLU's challenge to the marriage ban for Friday, October 31, at 2:30pm. The hearing will be at the Federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas.

The ACLU is suing on behalf of two couples, one of which has been active in Equality Kansas leadership for many years. On Friday they will be asking the judge to issue an injunction which would block enforcement of the ban in Kansas.

If we're fortunate, that order could be issued directly from the bench at the hearing, but it's just as likely we're going to have to wait a little longer for marriage equality to come to Kansas. It appears to us that the Attorney General's office is using every delaying tactic possible to keep delaying the inevitable.

[ Posted: Wednesday Oct 29 2014, 11:36 am | More Details...]

Just a quick Monday morning update - what we previously reported as a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, October 28, is actually going to be another conference call with the judge and opposing counsel. The purpose of the call is to determine if, when, and where a hearing on the ACLU motion to block Kansas enforcement of the marriage ban will take place.

Also: The Westboro Baptist Church - home of the late Fred Phelps - has filed a motion to intervene in the case. You can read their hate-filled rant here: http://www.washingtonblade.com/content/files/2014/10/244524950-2-14-cv-02518-19-WBC-motion-to-intervene.pdf

[ 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...]

Our endorsements were published the same week as the 10th Circuit decision and subsequent rush to courthouses in Kansas. In case you missed it, here again are our endorsements in the upcoming general election.

UDATE: There is an active campaigns against Judge Kevin Moriarty, who issued the first legal marriage license in Kansas. If you live in Johnson County, please VOTE TO RETAIN Judge Moriarty.

And on general principle, we urge you to vote to retain all judges on the ballot. Our courts have been politicized enough by the Sam Brownback and his minions. Judges need to be able to interpret the law without undue political pressure.

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

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