Although it is known as the “Sharia Bill,” the measure never mentions Islamic law, but broadly prohibits foreign laws from being used as reference guides in the state. Instead, government officials must only look to the United States Constitution for direction in legal matters.
While some felt that the bill was necessary in an effort to keep the United Nations from imposing any ecumenical or one-world type of mandates upon the state, others believed that the legislation demonstrated a bias against Muslims.
“This bill will put Kansas in a light that says we are intolerant of any other faith,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Owens stated. “I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning if I didn’t stand up and say I don’t want to be that kind of person and I don’t want to be in a community or a state that is that way.”
Owens was among only three senators who voted against the bill. In the House, the measure passed with no opposition at 120-0.
SB79 now heads to the desk of Governor Sam Brownback. He has not indicated whether or not he will sign the bill.
Earlier this year, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals declared a law in Oklahoma unconstitutional which stated that “courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law.” The court ruled that although 70% of Oklahoma citizens voted in favor of the measure, it was discriminatory against the Islamic religion.