gay rights

Wichita native Matthew Vines has good news for gay Christians, especially those who are theologically conservative, in his groundbreaking book God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships.

While in his second year at Harvard, Vines determined the correct answer when he asked himself, “Am I gay?” His affirmation inspired four years of meticulous research of the most common uses of Scripture in admonishing same-sex relationships as sinful.

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.

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.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle says her chamber is unlikely to pass a bill that would prevent lawsuits against someone who refuses, for religious reasons, to provide services to gay and lesbian people.

Wagle issued a statement Thursday night saying a majority of Republicans in the chamber don't support the bill.

The bill passed the House on Wednesday, drawing strong reaction from across the country.

The Kansas House of Representatives has advanced a controversial bill that supporters say will protect religious freedom.

The bill is seen as a preemptive strike, in case federal courts invalidate the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The measure prohibits punishing individuals or religious institutions for choosing not to provide goods or services that would be used in same-sex marriages.

Supporters of the bill say it protects people who don't want to provide services for same-sex marriages or don't want to recognize the unions for religious reasons.

A committee in the Kansas Legislature could vote this week on a bill aiming to protect religious freedom.

The bill says businesses, individuals and other groups with strong religious beliefs can't be forced to recognize same-sex marriage or provide employment or other services to same-sex couples.

Michael Schuttloffel is with the Kansas Catholic Conference. He used the example of a photographer asked to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony.

Kansas' Federal and State Affairs Committee is considering a bill on Tuesday that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions.

The measure--House Bill 2453--would also protect those who refuse to provide benefits to gay couples for religious reasons.

Kansas added a ban against gay marriage to the state constitution in 2005. Voters approved the bill by a 70 percent margin.

But recently, federal judges struck down similar bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

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