A Kansas House Democrat has drafted a new proposal to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Kansas City Representative Louis Ruiz presented his proposal Tuesday during a meeting of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. The panel agreed to sponsor it.
Such proposals have failed to pass several times in recent years.
The group Equality Kansas lists expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and the transgendered people against bias in employment, housing and public accommodations is a key goal.
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.
Gay-rights supporters are rallying at the Kansas Statehouse at 1pm on Tuesday to protest anti-gay marriage legislation that critics contend would encourage discrimination.
Rally organizers include: the group Equality Kansas, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
They oppose a bill that prohibits government fines and anti-discrimination lawsuits when people, groups, businesses cite their religious beliefs for refusing goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to gay and lesbian couples.
A bill that supporters say will preserve religious freedom now faces an uncertain future in the Kansas legislature.
Bill Proponents say it will protect individuals, businesses and religious groups from being involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies for religious reasons. Opponents say it's so broadly written that it offers legal protection for discrimination. The bill passed the Kansas House last week.
House Speaker Ray Merrick says that he would not put the bill up for a vote again if he could do it over. Merrick says the House will work with the Senate to amend the bill.
Despite several more states legalizing gay marriage recently, Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions or to provide benefits to gay couples, for religious reasons.
State Representative Charles Macheers says the bill will protect religious freedom.
Governor Brownback is receptive to the idea, but says he hasn't yet studied the proposal enough to offer a formal endorsement.