A state senate committee on Monday endorsed a proposed amendment to the Kansas constitution to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions for same-sex couples, even though some members said the measure's adoption would invite action from the courts.
The judiciary committee's voice vote sent the measure to the senate, and majority leader Lana Oleen, a committee member who expressed concern about the proposed amendment's wording, promised the chamber would debate it.
The proposed amendment declares that marriage is a union between only one man and one woman and that no other relationship shall be recognized by the state as entitled to the benefits normally associated with marriage. The house has adopted the proposed amendment, and if the senate adopts it by a two-thirds majority, the measure will go on the November 2 general-election ballot.
Oleen wanted the committee to advance the proposed amendment to the senate without any recommendation on whether it should be adopted. But Sen. Les Donovan objected to that idea, calling the same-sex marriage ban "a defining issue." "We need to take it to the floor without a cloud over it," he said.
Sen. Derek Schmidt supported the measure even though he thinks legislators have not considered all possible ramifications. Because the state would amend its constitution to restrict Kansas courts, he said, federal courts may hear future lawsuits.