State Begins Accommodating Gay Couples

Kansas is allowing married gay and lesbian residents to change their last names on their driver’s licenses. Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said the Division of Vehicles handled its first name change Monday. But the department is not yet allowing married same-sex couples to file joint income tax returns.

Koranda said the agency is reviewing all of its policies to make sure that it doesn’t miss any changes that need to be made.

The policy change for driver’s licenses is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation. Kansas had banned gay marriage.

Koranda said gay and lesbian couples wishing to change their names on their driver’s licenses must present a marriage certificate at a driver’s license office.

The health insurance plan for Kansas state government workers is allowing married gay and lesbian couples to obtain coverage for their spouses.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry says the health plan began accepting coverage applications Tuesday.

The department’s policy change follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation. Kansas had banned gay marriage.

Gov. Sam Brownback said last week his administration was reviewing the ruling and studying its implications before extending benefits to same-sex married couples.

Belfry says the legal review led the department to open the state employees’ health plan to gay and lesbian spouses.

The state employees’ health plan covers about 104,000 people. Belfry says the state isn’t sure how many more will be added.