Some Kansas lawmakers are backing a bill that labels same-sex marriages “parody marriages” and seeks to stop the state from recognizing them. The bill 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. The bill is very unlikely to get past the state’s Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, whose first act in office was to restore non-discrimination protections for LGBT state workers. However, the bills mark the reemergence of debate over same-sex marriage at a time when Democrats and some Republicans are pushing for non-discrimination legislation.
The Kansas Constitution still prohibits same-sex marriage, but the Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples have the right to marry. “Their marriage probably doesn’t affect me... but in my opinion, they’re trying to force their beliefs on society,” said Rep. Randy Garber, a Republican and the bill’s lead sponsor. One of the bills describes sexual orientation as “mythology.” “I am very disappointed,” said Rep. Susan Ruiz, a Democrat who is the first lesbian to serve openly in the Kansas Legislature. “I’m not a myth.”