Government
4:39 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Joy, Tears In KC At DOMA Provision Defeat

Caron Hankins said she was more subdued than her marriage partner at right, Dayna Deck, when they learned of the Supreme Court ruling.
Caron Hankins said she was more subdued than her marriage partner at right, Dayna Deck, when they learned of the Supreme Court ruling.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

As the Supreme Court has allowed federal benefits to same sex couples married in states where those unions are allowed by law, there is no legal change in Missouri or Kansas.

Hours after the ruling, several Kansas City gay couples met with reporters to reflect on their situations.

Dayna Deck, an attorney with the federal Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission said she whooped for joy as she read a Supreme Court blog, while Caron Hankins started to cry. The couple was married in Canada and lives in Kansas City. 

The marriage isn’t recognized in Missouri. 

All three couples who appeared at a news conference agree there may be years of legal work ahead if they’re to enjoy benefits of same sex couples in states directly affected by the court ruling.

Deck and Hankins won’t move to a friendlier state because their careers and families are rooted in Kansas City.

Danny Zaslasvsky and Mark Stahl are engaged to be married. They would not consider a move because they expect to adopt twin babies soon and their business is in Kansas City.

Danny Zaslavsky and Mark Stahl view high court rule from standpoint of adoptive parents.
Danny Zaslavsky and Mark Stahl view high court rule from standpoint of adoptive parents.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Jim Corrick and Newt Jones are both retired and live in Kansas City. They were married in Iowa where same sex marriages are legal. Jones said the couple might consider legally moving to a friendlier state while keeping a second home in Missouri.

Newt Jones would consider a primary home move to  a more gay-friendly state.
Newt Jones would consider a primary home move to a more gay-friendly state.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Former Kansas City attorney, now a lawyer with University of Missouri-Columbia Lana Knedlik thinks  another section of the Defense of Marriage Act Law  will change within a few years, the provision that one state doesn’t have to recognize couples married legally somewhere else.

The recent ruling has a symbolism to her-- “you have more hope and optimism today than you did yesterday. But as a legal standpoint, I don’t think anything changes.”  Knedlik adds that it essentially is what Justice Antonin Scalia predicts, “with today’s decision, the dominos are going to fall.”

Knedlik believes it’ll be years before anything changes in Missouri or Kansas on same sex marriages. She feels the climate in the legislatures is alien to it.

Attorney Lana Knedlik is co-founder of KC Legal ( Kansas City Lesbian, Gay and Allied Lawyers.)
Attorney Lana Knedlik is co-founder of KC Legal ( Kansas City Lesbian, Gay and Allied Lawyers.)
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Similarly,  Knedlik thinks Missourians and Kansans are more accepting of gay couples than ten or 20 years ago, but not enough to effect  change.