Kansas House Advances Bill Allowing Religion-Based Discrimination Against Gays

KansasThe Kansas House has approved a bill allowing people, groups, and businesses to discriminate against gay couples based on religious beliefs, the AP reports:

The vote Tuesday was 72-42. The measure advanced even though critics suggested the bill would encourage widespread discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The House plans to take final action on the bill Wednesday, and it's likely to pass.

The Wichita Eagle editorial board condemned the bill in an editorial:

The bill is written both so broadly and specifically – with especially troubling references to “counseling, adoption, foster care” and “employment benefits” – that it would sow confusion at best.

At worst, it would put Kansas on record as valuing some religious beliefs so highly as to justify intolerant and discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples – including those lawfully wed in other states and whose marriages are recognized by the federal government.

The bill directs governments and other nonreligious entities to promptly find another employee to provide the service or otherwise ensure it is provided “if it can be done without undue hardship to the employer.”