Kansas lawmakers have introduced two marriage bills defining same-sex unions as “parody” in opposition to “elevated” heterosexual weddings.
Both bills were introduced on Wednesday (February 13) by a group of lawmakers spearheaded by Republican Representative Randy Garber.
Bill 2321 seeks to establish an optional form of marriage called “elevated.” This involves a heterosexual couple pledging to “heightened standards of commitment,” such as undergoing marriage counselling before divorcing.
Such “elevated marriage” is described in opposition to “parody marriages,” which are defined as “a form of nonsecular marriage that tends to erode community standards of decency, unlike secular marriage between a man and a woman, who have reached the age of consent.”
“The sponsors of these bills should be ashamed of themselves.”
— Equality Kansas
The other proposed legislation, Bill 2320, expands on the definition of “parody marriage” as encompassing both same-sex unions and bestiality.
The bill reads: “The term ‘parody marriage’ refers to so-called marriages between more than two people, persons of the same sex, a person and an animal, or a person and an object.”
Bill 2320 also makes a series of bizarre statements, such as defining the LGBT+ community as “a denominational
sect that is inseparably part of the religion of secular humanism” that adopted “the gay pride rainbow colored flag to symbolize its faith-based worldview.”
It also attempts to disassociate LGBT+ rights from the civil rights movement, claiming that “there are no ex-blacks but there are thousands of ex-gays,” and that “skin-tone is genetic and sexual orientation is faith-based.”
Kansas LGBT+ group condemns bills describing same-sex unions as ‘parody marriage’
The LGBT+ rights group Equality Kansas has condemned the language of the bills, which the group’s executive director Thomas Witt described as “the most vile, hateful and disrespectful legislation I have seen in my 14 years as Equality Kansas’ lobbyist.”
“We have never seen this level of extremist vitriol laid out in legislative language. These marriage bills combined are 18 pages of insults and name calling,” the group said in a statement on Twitter. “The sponsors of these bills should be ashamed of themselves.”
In an interview with local newspaper The Wichita Eagle, Garber acknowledged the language of the bill is “kind of harsh” but stood by its underlining logic, insisting that the LGBT+ community represents a form of religion and that “the state should stay out of religious unions.”
The proposed bills have little chance of passing, according to local media. Kansas voters elected a new Democratic governor in November, Laura Kelly, who made it her priority to reinstate LGBT+ discrimination protections.
Kansas voters also picked Democratic candidate Sharice Davids to hold a Congressional seat during the November midterm elections.
Davids became the first openly lesbian and Native American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, defeating her Republican rival by nearly 10 percentage points.
In an episode underlining hostility towards Davids and LGBT+ people in Kansas, a lesbian couple who openly backed Davids received an anonymous letter questioning their support for the candidate and also their relationship.