Senate Fee Review Meeting

Zach Thomason, the Chief of Staff on the Student Senate, announces a resolution to House Bill 2320.

Correction: a previous version of this story misstated the name of the committee the resolution was passed through. It was passed in the University Affairs committee.

Student Senate passed a resolution Wednesday night condemning House Bill 2320, which stated, “parody marriages have never been a part of American tradition,” referring to same-sex unions.

The bill was introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives by Rep. Randy Garber with four other republican co-sponsors.

Author of the resolution, Senate Chief of Staff Zach Thomason, spoke about the bill to a full Senate.

“This bill basically goes out of its way to, first, tear apart and try and dehumanize the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, it tries to argue that [the] LGBTQ+ community is actually it’s own religion,” he said.

Thomason also discussed how the bill referred to same sex unions as ‘parody’ marriages.

“To be quite frank, this really pissed me off to the tenth degree… just because it is 2019 and the fact that in this state we are still having the most heinous attacks on marginalized communities coming from our own statehouses is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Thomason told the student senators that as a body, they had an opportunity to take a stand against this “blatant act of bigotry.”

During his discussion of the resolution, Thomason said he would leave it up to the body to remove Rep. Highlander’s name from it after he apologized earlier this week. Highlander removed his name from the bill after his LGBTQ+ daughter posted a letter shaming her father for being a co-sponsor on Facebook.

Thomason said it wouldn't be appropriate to let this open act of hatred go unnoticed from the “internal perspective” and that the members who sponsored the bill should be censured.

“This is not Kansas. This is not what we stand for,” he said.

The resolution passed unanimously, with one person abstaining. By the end of the night the resolution also had 33 co-sponsors.

“Student Senate at its core is supposed to advocate for students and that’s what we did today,” said Grant Daily, a co-sponsor of the resolution.

The resolution passed in two committees last week. One of those committees was University Affairs.

“I thought it was important to pass it just because we did as a country pass LGBTQ marraiges and it’s important to justify all love and it’s all valid. I just think that we should continue spreading the love,” said Olivia Lubthisophon, chair of the University Affairs committee.

The resolution passed Lubthisophon’s committee unanimously last week.This resolution has a special significance to Thomason, as well.

“For me personally, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community it held a particular weight because of that,” Thomason said in an interview after the senate meeting. “Taking it from a purely basic human level, any rhetoric like that is just unacceptable and it’s important to take a stand against it.”

After the final vote, Thomason said he was pleased with the outcome.

“It’s very clear that people supported this, people agreed,” he said.