Kansas Bill Would Allow Businesses to Refuse Service to Gay Couples
Gov. Sam Brownback supports a bill to curb what he believes is an infringement on the rights of business owners with religious beliefs
The bill explicitly protects religious individuals, groups and businesses that refuse service to same-sex couples, including those looking to get married. While same-sex marriage is still banned in Kansas, supporters of the bill are looking down the road. According to CNN:
They want to prevent religious individuals and organizations from getting sued, or otherwise punished, for not providing goods or services to gay couples — or for not recognizing their marriages or committed relationship as valid.”
The bill extends its protection to state employees as well. The gender-rights group Equality Kansas issued a statement condemning the legislation:
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,” state chairwoman Sandra Meade said.”
Supporters of the bill say dozens of lawsuits have been filed against businesses for refusing service to same-sex couples across the country (including Arlene’s Flowers in Richland). Supporters say freedom of speech, expression, and religious freedoms are under attack.
It appears the bill will become law; it’s already passed the Kansas House and the Senate is largely GOP-controlled. Gov. Brownback has already publicly praised it and said he will sign the measure.