Kansas Legislature
4:36 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

House Will Work With Senate On Same-Sex Marriage Bill

House Speaker Ray Merrick says if he had to do it over again, he would not have brought a controversial religious freedom bill up for a vote.

The bill would allow businesses, individuals and religious groups to refuse service or employment benefits to same-sex couples on religious grounds.

Critics of the legislation say it will allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Merrick, a Republican from Stilwell, calls bringing the bill to the floor a "hiccup" in the process. He says their intent was to protect people who don't want to take part in same-sex marriages, not to condone discrimination.

“When I read the bill, I didn’t see all the bogeymen in it like everybody else is seeing. Like I say, the buck stops here. We’re going to come to consensus with the Senate and get a bill out that everybody can live with,” Merrick said.

Earlier Friday, Senate leaders said the bill would not pass that chamber in its current form.