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Proposed Kansas Response on Gay Unions Debated

Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

The main sponsor of a so-called religious freedom measure in Kansas says it's neutral on marriage but acknowledges it arises from concerns that the state's ban on gay unions may be overturned by the federal courts.

State Rep. and Shawnee Republican Charles Macheers defended the measure as the House debated it Tuesday. He said it's narrowly drafted to protect individuals, groups and businesses that don't want to participate in gay weddings.

But he also said opponents of gay marriage want protection should Kansas no longer ban gay marriage.

The bill would bar government sanctions for refusing to recognize a marriage or civil union, or to provide goods or services to a couple. Anti-discrimination lawsuits also would be barred.

Critics say the bill would encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians.

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