Kansas Passes Bill Allowing Refusal of Services to Gay Couples

The Kansas House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would protect individuals, groups and businesses from being forced to help with same-sex weddings because of “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The bill is now headed to the Senate, where it seems likely to pass.

The bill not only protects churches and pastors that do not wish to perform same-sex weddings, but also any individual or organization that wants to refuse any type of service to a gay couple—like restaurants, hotels and movie theaters. The bill also permits state and federal workers like county clerks and police officers to refuse service, and bars same-sex couples from suing for discrimination. On the House floor, the bill’s author Rep. Charles Macheers (R-Shawnee) said “Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful … It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill. 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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