Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would make it legal for both government employees and private individuals to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds.
According to House Bill 2453, “no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity” to “provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges” if “it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.”
If the bill becomes law, anyone who claims to have a religious objection to same-sex marriage would not be compelled to “treat any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement as valid.”
Any person who refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a same-sex marriage would, in fact, be shielded from any “civil claim or cause of action under state or local law based on such refusal.” If a same-sex couple brought “any action” against a person, he or she “may immediately assert the protections provided [by the bill] as a defense to dismiss such action.”
The bill, which is sponsored by Representative Charles Macheers (R-Shawnee), passed the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs on Friday and will now head to the House floor.
Governor Sam Brownback told The Wichita Eagle that although he hadn’t read the bill, that “religious liberty issues are ones that I’ve been around for a long time…I’ve fought for religious liberty in many countries and with many different faiths. It’s basic in the Bill of Rights.”
[Image via Rep. Macheers]