Kansas ‘Optional Elevated Marriage Act’ (HB 2321)
This law was last updated on Feb 14, 2019
HB 2321 would establish an optional “elevated marriage” for straight couples seeking heightened standards of commitment.
The bill would define same-sex marriage as “parody marriage,” which the bill calls “a form of non-secular 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 bill defines “elevated marriage” to mean:
[…]a secular marriage that the state can recognize without violating the establishment clause of the 1st amendment of the constitution of the United States or section 7 of the bill of rights of the constitution of the state of Kansas that is entered into by one male and one female who understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong covenant relationship and who intentionally agree to being subjected to higher standards of commitment at the outset of their marriage as a matter of mutual consent.
“Elevated marriages” would only be available to a man and woman who are or over the age of consent.
The bill would require straight couples seeking an “elevated marriage” to go through authorized counseling emphasizing the nature, purposes and responsibilities of marriage. Straight couples who obtain an “elevated marriage” could only get a divorce when there has been a “complete and total breach of the marital commitment.”
A straight couple seeking an “elevated marriage” would be able to declare their intent to do so on their application for a marriage license. The straight couple would need to sign the following recital:
We do solemnly declare that marriage is a commitment between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for so long as they both may live. We have chosen each other carefully and disclosed to one another everything which could adversely affect the decision to enter into this marriage. We have received authorized counseling on the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage. We have read the optional elevated marriage act, and we understand that a marriage is intended to be for life, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
If we experience marital difficulties, we commit ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling. With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do hereby declare that our marriage will be bound by Kansas law on contract standards of marriage commitment and we promise to love, honor and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.
The authorized counseling required to obtain an “elevate marriage” would need to include a discussion of the seriousness of marriage, the fact that marriage is a life-long commitment between a man and a woman, the importance of marital counseling, and the grounds for seeking a divorce.
The bill would allow straight couples who are already married to apply to redesignate their marriage as an “elevated marriage.”
“Elevated Marriage” Divorce
Straight couples in an “elevated marriage” would only be able to divorce or judicially separate under the following circumstance:
- One spouse commits adultery;
- One spouse commits a felony or other crime;
- An act of physical or sexual abuse;
- The spouses have been living apart for at least two years; or
- If child abuse was involved and the spouses have been living apart for at least one year.
Based on model legislation drafted by Chris Sevier, who is known for filing anti-LGBTQ stunt lawsuits.
Similar to HB 2320.
2/13/19 – Introduced.