Topeka A legislator has filed a bill that would prohibit courts from basing a decision on any legal system that doesn't grant people the the same rights as the United States and Kansas constitutions.
State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said Wednesday the proposal was prompted by concerns over reports where women and children in some immigrant communities in the United States have been assaulted or killed because they want to become Westernized. She pointed to so-called "honor killings" where women have been murdered and their assailants have proclaimed that the women brought dishonor to their families by violating a tradition or rule.
Mast said she wants to ensure that courts when deciding these cases recognize only state and federal laws and not a traditional belief or law from another country or society.
House Bill 2087 already has 45 sponsors.
But Kari Ann Rinker, coordinator of the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, said Mast was trying to pass legislation for a problem that hasn't come up in Kansas. Mast said it was better for Kansas to be pro-active.
Rinker also said the bill seemed similar to a constitutional amendment approved in Oklahoma that would prohibit state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases. That amendment has been blocked by a federal judge.