Main | Wednesday, March 28, 2012

KS House Approves Catholic-Backed Bill That Legalizes Anti-Gay Discrimination

By an overwhelming vote of 89-27, tonight the GOP-dominated Kansas House voted to legalize anti-gay discrimination based on religious objections. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), is primarily aimed at the small college town of Lawrence, the one remaining place in the entire state where gays have some legal protections.
Moments after approving establishment of a prayer room in the Capitol, the Kansas House on Wednesday advanced legislation that would allow a religious defense to discriminate against gays. Two Lawrence representatives attacked the bill, called the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, as an attempt to make ineffective a city of Lawrence anti-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation. The bill would prohibit state and local governments from substantially burdening a person's religious beliefs unless the government can prove that the burden is advancing a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive way of advancing that interest. The measure is supported by Gov. Sam Brownback's administration, the Kansas Catholic Conference and Concerned Women for America of Kansas. It was opposed by Lawrence officials, the Kansas Equality Coalition and the state chapter of the National Organization for Women.
When questioned during the vote, Kinzler acknowledged that the bill will allow landlords to refuse to rent to gay people. "I think that's generally correct," he said.

RELATED: In March 2011 the town of Manhattan, Kansas repealed LGBT anti-discrimination protections after Christianists won election to the town council with that specific goal in mind.

ALSO RELATED: In 2005 Kinzler voted to approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. His website still features a lengthy diatribe on "the fetish of homosexual copulation."

Contact details for Rep. Kinzler.

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