Kansas bill calls LGBTQ a religion, same-sex unions 'parody marriages'

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Eyewitness News misspelled Liz Hamor’s name during our report. We apologize for this error.

Local LGBTQ rights groups are worried about the safety of Wichita students after a bill presented in the Kansas House called same-sex unions "parody marriages." The bill also goes on to call the LGBTQ community a "religion of secular humanism."

Rep. Cheryl Helmer, of Mulvane, is one of seven co-sponsors behind the bill. She's also a school counselor in the Wichita Public Schools system. She declined an on-camera interview Thursday, but she said it was a complete mistake signing the bill.

Liz Hamor founded the Wichita Chapter of GLSEN, an education organization that works to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools. She says knowing that a school counselor proposed the "marriage and constitution restoration act," concerns her.

"When I first read this bill all I could think about was our students and some of their parents and so many of my friends and family reading this bill and how hurtful and harmful this is," said Hamor.

The bill states "...there has been a land rush by many secular humanists to infiltrate public schools and public libraries with the intent to indoctrinate and proselytize minors to their religious worldview..."

Hamor says those words are concerning.

"The bills that came out yesterday had language in there that was very harmful for LGBTQ Kansans, and then we find out that one of them was co-sponsored by an educator, a USD 259 educator, and I just had concerns that those are the kinds of things some of our students are hearing from educators."

Homer works with LGBTQ students in the area like Jace Candy.

"Not too long ago we had a teacher, who not talking to me directly, but referred to me and my friends as he/she's. and we are both transgender males," said Jayce.

His experience combined with the bill's language are some of the reasons why Homer is asking for increased protections.

"Our students who are most vulnerable need to be protected and this bill specifically had specific language in it saying schools need to not be allowed to have programs or organizations such as ours to get the education that they need to support students," she said.

Dr. Russell Arben Fox, a political professer at Friends University, says while language in the bill is polarizing, there's little chance that it, or a similar bill aimed at keeping same-sex marriages from being recognized in Kansas, have a chance at becoming law.

"These bills can be attributed solely to individual legislators who see that they have an opportunity to make some noise about an issue that they care about where as previously they might not have been able to because moderate republicans would have prevented them from doing so," he said.

Fox said even if the bill did pass, it would almost certainly be vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly.

"These bills can be attributed solely to individual legislators who see that they have an opportunity to make some noise about an issue that they care about. Where as previously, they might not have been able to because moderate Republicans would have prevented them from doing so," said Fox.

Kansas House bill No. 2320 was sponsored by six other representatives. We reached out to them for comment but have yet to hear back.