According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a parody is (1) a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule; (2) a feeble or ridiculous imitation
A group of state representatives in Kansas introduced legislation Wednesday that seeks to define same-sex marriage as “parody marriage,” stop the state from recognizing gay marriage and establish an “elevated marriage” option for straight couples who seek “higher standards of commitment.”
One of the two bills introduced contends LGBTQ people are aligned with the secular humanism movement, which it calls a religion. It also calls the gay pride rainbow flag a symbol of a “faith-based worldview.”
By doing so, the proposed legislation seeks to define marriage between a man and a woman as “neutral” and same-sex marriage as religious in nature. It then contends the state cannot constitutionally condone a religious practice.
Legislation with a similar approach never made it to a vote in a South Carolina last year. The American Civil Liberties Union called that bill “unconstitutional” and “absurd.”
The two Kansas bills contain a sweeping set of proposals and a number of controversial assertions. Among the proposals the legislation seeks to enact:
Barring the state from recognizing same-sex marriage
Barring the state from recognizing transgender individuals
Allowing gay conversion therapy
Barring public libraries and public schools from participating in programs such as “drag queen storytime.”
The bills assert:
“The government’s endorsement of LGBTQ ideology has amounted to the greatest sham since the inception of American jurisprudence”
Same-sex marriages “erode community standards of decency”
LGBTQ advocacy is different from civil rights advocacy for reasons such as: “There are no ex-blacks but there are thousands of ex-gays”
The Wichita Eagle reports the legislation stands little chance of advancing and that the sponsor Rep. Randy Garber has acknowledged the language used in the legislation is “kind of harsh.”
“Their marriage probably doesn’t affect me – their union or whatever you want to call it. But in my opinion, they’re trying to force their beliefs on society,” Garber told the publication. He also said that he does not consider himself a bigot and believes that Christians such as himself should “take a stand on what you believe, lovingly.”
LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Kansas has condemned both pieces of legislation.
“Every year, we see bills that restrict, remove, and limit the rights of LGBT Kansans, but never have we seen this level of extremist vitriol laid out in legislative language,” Thomas Witt, executive director of the group, said in a written statement. Witt said the bills amount to “18 pages of insults and name calling.”
The two bills have at least seven sponsors, all Republicans, according to online records accessed Wednesday.
A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling sanctioned same-sex marriage, but the state’s constitution prohibits it. Should the two proposed bills pass, they would likely face legal challenges.