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9:53 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Kansas Senate Reopens Talks Over 'Religious Freedom Bill'

Legislators are also reopening debate on whether the state should give special legal protections for people, groups, and businesses who oppose gay marriage for religious reasons.

A Senate panel will take testimony on Thursday from legal scholars on whether existing state laws protect gay-marriage opponents from being fined or sued for refusing to provide goods or services for same-sex weddings.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing follows the House's passage of what supporters called a "religious freedom" bill.

Opponents said bill encouraged discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

The Kansas Constitution bars gay marriage, but the House bill anticipated that federal courts could invalidate the ban.

Senate leaders have declared the measure dead. They say their judiciary committee is only having an informational hearing and isn't working on a new bill.