The Kansas state legislature has voted to allow businesses and government employees to discriminate against homosexuals on the grounds of their religious beliefs.
The measure passed an initial vote by a wide margin of 72 votes to 42. If it passes another vote today, it will go to the Republican-controlled state senate where it will likely be passed.
House Bill 2453 would allow businesses like restaurants, hotels, bars and stores to refuse service to a homosexual person or persons if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” It would also allow government employees to refuse to issue wedding licenses to homosexual couples without threat of a lawsuit. If an employee does refuse to provide a service, the state is required to find another employee who will serve them as quickly as possible.
According to time.com:
[box type=”shadow”]”This bill is part of a larger trend across the U.S., pitting gay rights advocates against conservatives who say same-sex marriage is contrary to their religious beliefs. A baker in Colorado was ordered to stop discriminating against same-sex couples in December, after refusing to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding.”[box/]
This bill is not about protecting religious freedom; it is about legalizing homophobia. Lawmakers in Kansas would not dare propose a bill that allowed employees to discriminate against Jewish people, or allowed state employees to refuse marriage licenses to mixed-race couples. This law is about institutionalizing what is the last acceptable form of open discrimination in the United States. Politicians in Kansas are apparently more concerned with protecting the right for someone to be a religious bigot than in protecting the rights of homosexuals.