Gay marriage response on Kansas lawmakers’ agenda

Topeka State Capital Building

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas House committee is considering a bill aimed at protecting individuals, groups and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions or provide benefits to gay couples for religious reasons.

The Federal and State Affairs Committee’s hearing on the measure Tuesday comes amid an uncertain legal climate for states such as Kansas that bar gay marriage. Federal judges in Oklahoma and Utah recently struck down those states’ bans.

The Kansas bill says no individual, business or religious group with sincerely held religious beliefs could be required by any government agency to provide services, facilities, goods, employment or employment benefits for a same-sex marriage or domestic partnership. The measure bars anti-discrimination lawsuits.

Supporters believe the bill will protect religious freedom. Critics say it promotes discrimination against gays and lesbians.

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