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February 11, 2014

Proposed Kansas response on gay unions to be debated

A proposal aimed at preventing Kansas residents from being forced to help with same-sex weddings is coming up for a debate in the state House.

A proposal aimed at preventing Kansas residents from being forced to help with same-sex weddings is coming up for a debate in the state House.

Supporters of the bill on the House’s agenda Tuesday describe it as a religious freedom measure. Opponents contend it will encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The bill would bar government sanctions when individuals, groups and businesses cite religious beliefs in refusing to recognize a marriage or civil union, or to provide goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to a couple. Anti-discrimination lawsuits also would be barred.

Critics are most worried about language that extends the protections to state and local government employees, even though the measure requires agencies to seek an alternative if a worker doesn’t want to assist a gay couple.

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