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Bill Shielding Gay Marriage Opponents Advances

Religious freedom debateLawmakers debate the religious freedom bill. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

UPDATE: This measure has now passed the House and is headed to the Kansas Senate.

The Kansas House has advanced a controversial bill that supporters say will protect religious freedom. The measure prohibits punishing individuals or religious institutions for choosing not to provide goods or services for same-sex marriages. Supporters of the bill say it protects people who don’t want to provide services for same-sex marriages or don’t want to recognize the unions for religious reasons. Representative Charles Macheers (muh-SHEARS) is a Republican from Shawnee.


Opponents of the bill say it offers legal protection for discrimination against gays and lesbians. The House will likely take a final vote on the bill today (WED). If it passes, the legislation will move on to the state Senate.

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(VERSION TWO)

The Kansas House has advanced a controversial bill that supporters say will protect religious freedom. As KPR's Stephen Koranda reports, the bill is seen as a preemptive strike in case federal courts invalidate the state's ban on same-sex marriage.


(SCRIPT)

The bill would protect individuals and religious groups that don’t want to provide services for same-sex marriages or recognize the unions based on their religious views. Representative Charles Macheers is a Republican from Shawnee.

“There have been times throughout history where people were persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield of protection for that,” says Macheers.

But opponents of the legislation argue that it singles out a specific group for unfair treatment. Representative Louis Ruiz, a Kansas City, Kansas Democrat, calls the bill an overreach by the government.

“I see this bill as one that discriminates against a certain group of people. Whether we want to admit that or not, it’s there,” says Ruiz.

A final vote in the House is likely later today (WED). If it passes, it will go on to the Kansas Senate.

 

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