Kansas Senate kills religious freedom bill

Feb. 25, 2014 at 2:55 PM
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TOPEKA, Kan., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Kansas Senate won't consider a religious freedom bill that some say discriminated against gays, Senate Vice President Jeff King said Tuesday.

"We're not going to work the bill. House Bill 2453 is kaput," said King of the proposed legislation, approved in the state House, designed to protect owners of small businesses who declined to offer services for same-sex weddings on religious grounds.

The bill extended to public, as well as private, employees, and critics considered it discriminatory, the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle reported.

King added a Senate committee will explore the issue of religious liberty in hearings in March. The Judiciary Committee, headed by King, will revisit current laws and hear testimony from all points of view, he said.

Thomas Witt, spokesman for the gay-rights organization Equality Kansas, which led opposition efforts to House Bill 2453, said he was reluctant to declare victory yet, the Wichita Eagle reported.

"I think in the minds of proponents, this is very much not a dead issue," he said of the demise of the bill. He added the March hearings will "be an excellent opportunity to talk about how LGBT equality intersects with religious liberty in Kansas."

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