The Kansas State Senate has refused to consider a House bill that would make it legal to refuse service to gays due to “sincerely held religious beliefs”. Senate Republicans say the bill is too extreme.
House Bill 2453, which passed the House by a lopsided 72-49 vote, would have allowed anyone with religious objections to homosexuality to discriminate against gays at any time. Doctors. Teachers. Firefighters. Ambulance drivers.
From HB 2453:
“if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity…no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to…[p]rovide 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; solemnize any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; or treat any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement as valid.”
The Kansas Senate, with its 32-8 Republican majority, was expected to rubber stamp the legislation, but sanity has prevailed. Senate President, Republican Susan Wagle, told the Wichita Eagle that allowing government employees to discriminate went too far:
“I believe that when you hire police officers or a fireman that they have no choice in who they serve. They serve anyone who’s vulnerable, any age, any race, any sexual orientation. Public service needs to remain public service for the entire public.”