Kansas Bill Would Allow Companies To Refuse Service To Gay Couples

February 13, 2014 1:01 p.m.

A bill passed Wednesday by the Kansas House would allow businesses and government employees to deny services to same-sex couples on the basis of their religious beliefs, the Kansas City Star reported.

It now heads to the state Senate; it has already earned the tacit endorsement of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

“Religious liberty issues are ones that I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve fought for religious liberty in many countries and with many different faiths,” Brownback told the Wichita Eagle last week, adding that he had not reviewed the bill’s specific language yet. “It’s basic in the Bill of Rights.”

The bill says individuals and religious entities would not be required, if they had “sincerely held religious beliefs,” to:

Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement

“Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful. It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill,” Rep. Charles Macheers, one of the Republicans who voted for the bill, said on the House floor. “There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield of protection for that.”

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