August 12, 2003
KANSAS CITY – Backed by the homosexual community of Kansas City and the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City City Council is proceeding with its publicly stated agenda to offer benefits to domestic partners of homosexuals by May 1, 2004.
Christians inside Kansas City are just now responding, according to Jesse Camacho, co-founder of the Web site www.defendingmarriage.com and a member of Antioch Bible Baptist Church. Their immediate goal is to raise questions about this agenda at an Aug. 20 meeting of the City Council Finance Committee.
"The Council can stop this at any time," Camacho said. "Are they really representing the will of Kansas Citians?"
Questions about what City Council members are attempting to put into law revolve around fairness, legality and cost, he said. Facts connected to those questions can be located at www.defendingmarriage.com. It is a comprehensive Web site with eight categories of documentation; a planned addition to the Web site will be called "Eleven reasons why this is a bad idea," Camacho said.
The battle for domestic partner benefits is a key stepping stone for the homosexual movement’s attempt to gain full equality under the law with regard to same-sex "marriage" and child adoption rights.
At a July 27 meeting at Northland Cathedral, the man who helped Camacho launch the Web site, Kansas City Northland attorney Steve Sanders, gave a presentation about the issue and urged Christians to sign a petition at www.defendingmarriage.com.
"We plan to pack the meeting room Aug. 20," said Sanders, who is a member of Northland Cathedral. "As citizens of Kansas City, we have a right to ask questions about the process. When it comes to this agenda of putting into law domestic partner benefits, we feel that there are many more questions than answers."
Kansas City officials such as Mayor Kay Barnes and Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks have aligned themselves with the homosexuals, framing it as a question of rights and equity, the Star reported.
Camacho said the citizens of Kansas City ought to be asking their elected representatives how much implementing this proposed city ordinance will cost and whether it would encourage harmful behavior.
"Is this something that is supported by the majority?" Camacho said.
Hundreds of cities nationwide – from New York City to Louisville, Ky., to Los Angeles – now offer domestic partner benefits to homosexual employees. The issue remains volatile.
St. Louis has a domestic partner registry but does not offer domestic partner benefits, the Star reported. The City Council of Colorado Springs, Colo., voted to approve benefits only to withdraw them in July, the Star reported. City councils in Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C., are debating whether to offer them. The mayor of Charlotte is concerned about the cost in a tight budget, the Star reported, especially in light of the continuing problem of incurable AIDS among homosexuals.
In Kansas City, the centerpiece of the Christian strategy between now and May 1, 2004, is the petition. Camacho said he and Sanders drafted it in such a way as to both educate the reader and to encourage participation by signing it. It can be downloaded at www.defendingmarriage.com.
The petition has 12 footnotes. One of them references the Preamble to the Constitution of Missouri, which states that the people of Missouri "acknowledge a profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and are grateful for His goodness." Another footnote cites the opening prayer of an April 24 session of the City Council, referencing how important it is for city councilmen to submit to God’s will and stay subject to Him.
"It took us a long time for us to draft the petition, making sure our arguments were not couched in subjective mentality," Camacho said. "Accordingly, we structured as much as we could in citable fact."
The four members of the City Council’s Finance Committee are the most visible policy makers for the days ahead. Come Aug. 20, they will meet as a group at 9 a.m. in the Council Chamber of City Hall (on the 26th floor) to determine how to proceed. Their names and telephone numbers are as follows: Charles Eddy, chairman, (816) 513-1615; Jim Rowland, vice chair, (816) 513-1617; Bill Skaggs, (816) 513-1619; and Brooks, (816) 513-1602.
Documents and discussion leading up to this meeting indicate that going forward will prove to be costly for the city. City Manager Wayne Cauthen, in a memo to the City Council, estimated the minimal costs at $300,000, the Star reported. Camacho said this estimate is only for the first year. The duty of Christians, he said, is to raise this question and several others at the Aug. 20 meeting.
"The minimum annual cost to the city is approximately $300,000 per year," Camacho said. "That’s a minimum of $3 million in the first 10 years."
Camacho said Christians should pray that their representatives will act with wisdom as responsible public servants. Calling them directly to talk about how the Kansas City Christian community feels about this issue will be important in the days leading up to Aug. 20, Camacho said.
"Through a Web site, a petition, prayer and a clear stand for truth, may God choose to give us the victory," Camacho said.