Photo Credits: Paul Andrews
Kansas Republicans introduced the new bill HB 2320 to prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages, which are referred to in the bill as “parody” marriages. Another bill, HB 2321, would create “elevated marriage” for straight couples while making it harder for them to get divorced.
Christel Highland — the daughter of one of the Republicans, Rep. Ron Highland — recently posted to her Facebook page a copy of the letter she wrote to her father, which expressed her disgust with his support for the dehumanizing bill.
Part of her letter reads: “…Why would you openly attempt [a] policy that elevates hate and hurts my family and friends? Why would a person of integrity want to legislate and force their beliefs on another? That, to me, is the core question…Your most sacred job as an elected official is to serve and protect people. Your God did not elect you, living breathing human beings did. Further isolating the marginalized among the population you serve is far from your duty. Hate has no place in public policy…”
After reading her note, Highland said in a written statement to The Wamego Times newspaper: “The bill that I should not have signed on to cosponsor contained some hateful language which I do not condone, and it is against our Lord’s command to love our neighbors. I have asked for my name to be removed from the bill. The process for doing so is in motion.”
Highland, a Wamego Republican, said: “I trusted the author of the bill, who is my office mate, and signed on to several of his bills. Knowing that some of them were really important, I trusted that they all were, and that was not the case. I must admit it was a mistake, and apologize.”
The Wichita Eagle reports that the public disapproval of same-sex marriage from some Republican lawmakers comes just months after voters elected the state’s first openly gay lawmakers and less than two weeks after the introduction of a bill that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals statewide.
The anti-gay marriage bills stand virtually no chance of becoming law. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s first official act in office was to restore non-discrimination protections for LGBT state workers, and she would almost certainly veto such a bill.
And although the Kansas Constitution prohibits same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples have the right to marry. An immediate court challenge would be expected if the bill ever did become law.