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Uncertain Future for "Religious Freedom" Bill in KS

Statehouse by SK(Photo by Stephen Koranda)A bill that supporters say will preserve religious freedom faces an uncertain future in the Kansas legislature after drawing widespread criticism. Proponents of the bill say it will protect individuals, businesses and religious groups from being involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies for religious reasons. Opponents of the bill say it's so broadly written that it offers legal protection for discrimination. The bill passed the Kansas House last week. After the outcry, House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican from Stilwell, said that he would not put the bill up for a vote again if he could do it over. Merrick says the House will work with the Senate to amend the bill.

Merrick says when he read the bill he didn't believe it could be so widely interpreted to allow discrimination. Senate leaders said last week that the bill would not pass that chamber in it's current form. Senate Vice President Jeff King, a Republican from Independence, says the Senate likely won't consider the House bill, but will look into the issue of religious freedom.

Yesterday (SUN), more than 200 people gathered at the Kansas Capitol to protest the bill.


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