Kansas House passes bill allowing refusal of service to same-sex couples

On February 12th, the Kansas House passed a bill that would allow for religious individuals, businesses, and groups to deny service to same-sex couples. The bill passed 72-49, and will now move on to the Republican dominated Kansas Senate.

The bill says specifically that, “No individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender: 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.”

If passed, it would allow entities to deny service to gay couples without fear of a lawsuit. Since Kansas has already banned same-sex marriage, it is likely the bill will pass.

Governor Brownback has already glorified the bill, saying, “Americans have constitutional rights, among them the right to exercise their religious beliefs and the right for every human life to be treated with respect and dignity.”

However, the bill has received significant backlash, including from Kansas based gay rights group Equality Kansas chairwomen Sandra Meade. Meade was quoted as saying,

“Kansans across the state are rightly appalled that legislators are spending their efforts to pass yet another piece of legislation that seeks to enshrine discrimination against gay and lesbian people into law. HB 2453 is a blatant attempt to maintain second-class citizen status for taxpaying gay and lesbian Kansans.”

The bill will be voted on in the senate on Friday.