The Kansas House recently passed a bill that would make it legal to deny access to services to same-sex couples.
CNN reports on the specifics of the bill, which are as shitty and ridiculous as you can imagine. The measure seems to be geared towards preventing lawsuits from same-sex couples who are looking to get married who experience discrimination, even though same-sex marriage is banned in Kansas.
House Bill 2453 explicitly protects religious individuals, groups and businesses that refuse services to same-sex couples, particularly those looking to tie the knot.It passed the state's Republican-dominated House on Wednesday with a vote of 72-49, and has gone to the Senate for a vote.
The law is anti-gay bill disguised as one that protects the "religious freedom" of people who object same-sex couples based on religious grounds. This is like discrimination inception—DISCRIMINCEPTION. Lawmakers are looking to protect organizations, businesses and individuals from being sued if they deny services to same-sex couples. In recent years, couples around the country who were denied services such as wedding cakes for their nuptials have filed and won lawsuits. Apparently, Kansas doesn't want their bigoted business owners facing the same kind of hassle.
Via CNN, more details on what the bill would do:
HB 2453 is titled "An act concerning religious freedoms with respect to marriage" and covers many bases. It reads, in part: "No individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender:
"Provide 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." Anyone who turns away a gay couple not only can't face a civil suit, but if anyone tries to sue, they could get nailed with the other side's legal fees.
Imagine living in a world where any business can turn a gay couple away because they "object" to their lifestyle and you're basically back in the Civil Rights Dark Ages where Kansas lawmakers seem to think everything will be just awesome. The law does provide some scraps for same-sex couples. (And boy, do we mean scraps.) For example, "if an employee at a nonreligious or government business refuses to serve a gay or lesbian couple for religious reasons, the manager is obligated to find another employee who will oblige." Hmm, but what if the business doesn't have any people who don't hate gays? Oh well, you're just SOL. It also provides protection against discrimination for anyone who performs or supports same-sex unions, including clergy members.
The law has not gone unnoticed by gay and gender rights groups, such as Equality Kansas. "HB 2453 is a blatant attempt to maintain second-class citizen status for taxpaying gay and lesbian Kansans," said Sandra Meade, chairwoman for Kansas Equality.
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