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Archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

House gives preliminary OK to bill that supporters say preserves religious freedom, but opponents say allows discrimination

March 28, 2012, 5:09 p.m. Updated March 29, 2012, 7:04 a.m.

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— 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 destroy a city of Lawrence anti-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation.

In an impassioned speech, state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said, “I am very proud of my Lawrence community, and I’m very proud of the ordinance that we passed.” Ballard added, “Discrimination is an injustice. It is an injustice to everyone.”

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said, “I don’t believe it is ever right to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation.”

But State Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, defended his bill, saying it was meant to make sure government could not infringe on an individual’s religious beliefs.

“Free exercise of religion is at the core of who we are as a people,” Kinzer said.

Davis asked Kinzer if under Kinzer’s bill an apartment owner could cite his religious beliefs to fight a complaint if he refused to rent to a same-sex couple.

“That is generally correct,” Kinzer said.

Davis said that was unfair to the city of Lawrence, which is the only city in Kansas that has an anti-discrimination ordinance designed to protect people based on sexual orientation.

State Rep. Charlie Roth, R-Salina, said that Kinzer’s legislation was “homophobic” and that it will hurt Kansas’ image. “It sends the message that Kansas is not welcoming. Kansas will become known as the land of the pure as defined by the few,” Roth said.

But Kinzer said local units of government should not be allowed to engage in religious discrimination against its citizens.

The bill was approved 89-27. Ballard, Davis and state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, voted against it. State Reps. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, and TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, voted for it.

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.

Right before advancing the Kansas Preservation of Freedom Act, the House gave preliminary approval to putting a chapel for prayer and meditation in the Statehouse.

Both proposals will require a final vote before going to the Senate. Those votes will probably be taken Thursday.

Comments

Chuck Anziulewicz 1 year, 9 months ago

QUESTION: Will an evangelical Christian business owner be able to fire a Jewish or Muslim or Atheist employee because he has "religious freedom" to do so?

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Hudson Luce 1 year, 9 months ago

It would be quite legal under this law to deny services and refuse to rent to divorced and remarried "Christians" because they are actively engaging in adultery, which is sinful behavior directly denounced by Jesus: Matthew 19:9 "Now I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”

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Hudson Luce 1 year, 10 months ago

It might be a useful exercise to determine which landlords and which businesses in Lawrence will refuse to do business or rent to LGBT people, and publish the results on the Web just to have things out in the open and not hidden. The same thing goes for the rest of Douglas County and the counties in Kansas. If we're going to have legalized discrimination, it should be open for all to see.

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Joe Hyde 2 years ago

This "Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act" looks like a legal tool devised to let anybody psycho-sexually sodomize just about anyone they don't like...just so long as the sodomizer keeps one hand pressed against a Bible while commiting the offense.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

What would "Voltaire" say?

“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.”

" Alas! my archangel," said I, " where have you brought me? "

" To desolation," he answered.

http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/111vol.html

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Elaine Elliott 2 years ago

Can't people use the Bible to discriminate against mixed race couples? Oh wait that's already happened, but then we had the Civil Rights movement. When Kansas decided to stop teaching evolution, they must have meant all types of evolution. This is embarrassing and disgusting. How are we moving backwards so quickly?

All movement is not progress, just as all motion is not forward. Anonymous

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uglyrumor 2 years ago

This is why the rest of the country thinks Kansans are ignorant rednecks. It's also why they are right.

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Paul R Getto 2 years ago

JJ: Be nice. The great thing about religion is you get to choose the god you like, then interpret the books as you see fit. Leave these folks alone. We just need to promote good governance and a just society, which can be done without leaning on any of the crutches being used in this legislation. The three jewels, compassion, moderation and humility should do it, and nearly all the religions promote these concepts, when they are not trying to run someone else's life.

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jimmyjms 2 years ago

I've never seen someone as equally ignorant of both basic constitutional law AND of the religion they claim as their own as kansanjayhawk. A disgrace to this state, and in no way representative of a Jayhawk. Pathetic.

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Paul R Getto 2 years ago

More BS from the Browniacs, but we should be used to this by now.

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MarchHare 2 years ago

Dear God, Dear Lord, Dear Vague-Muscular-Man-with-a-Beard-or-a-Sword, Dear "Good All Seeing Being",

It's my way or the highway Yahweh! The blue balled anti-masterbater,the Great all-loving faggot hater. I'd like to thank your holy might for making me both rich and white and though this is your day of rest, I come to you with one request: There's so much pain beyond this steeple - Wars and drugs and homeless people; Sadness where there should be joy; Hate and rape and Soulja Boy - A world in darkness needs your light and I'm sure your schedule is pretty tight, But... My dog just had surgery, if you could fix that first?

In case you need a map to point you in the right direction, the above is both cynical and sarcastic. That said, the hypocrisy and blasphemy of those who would call themselves Christian in support of this bill is outragous. You ought to seriously re-examine the most basic tenets of the religion. Axioms such as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or "Love thy neighbor" come to mind and as I recall I don't remember there being an asterick specificing that it was ok for you hate them or discriminate against them because they're gay/lesbian/transgender. In fact, as memory serves, doesn't the Bible make it explictly clear that those who would dare to judge or openly condemn other human beings (as though they were as imnipotent, benevolent or righteous as God himself!) shall be damned? And I don't know if the Bouncer Pete at those pearly gates is going to buy your repentence story with wall of hate-filled text you pound into your keyboard nightly standing against you.

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Lateralis 2 years ago

The owners can do with their property as whey wish. It's a constitutional right.

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Ken Lewis 2 years ago

Clearly, the legislature is down to pure partisan politics instead of solving the state's problems. Must be getting hear the end of the session.....thank God. We can all breathe a sigh of relief when they go home.

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mom_of_three 2 years ago

Question to those of sound mind and body??

Can you ask someone's religion on a rental form or ask about someone's sexual orientation? I didn't think you could.

SO how will they know someone is gay before they rent to them?? Will owners just assume that a person who has dark skin and an accent will be middle eastern and a different religion?

and what if a house is rented to a gay person, who doesn't divulge their orientation? Do the owners have a right to kick them out?

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Ray Parker 2 years ago

Given the encroaching attacks on the free exercise of religion by the Mombasa Marxist regime, we must attempt to preserve our rights to refuse to dispense abortion or abortifacient drugs, to refuse to participate in abortions, euthanasia, or other immoral acts, and to refuse to endorse, condone, or tolerate sodomy.

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Ken Lewis 2 years ago

Generally, these bills/laws introduced and passed to "protect religious freedom" have NOTHING to do with religious freedom. It is usually motiviated by attack on thier opponents.

Back in 2005, the US House passed such a bill, with the same name, that had nothing to do with religion. What the law did was bar plantiffs, who sue the federal govt base on Constitutional grounds, from recovering legal fees if they win thier case. It was intended to bankrupt the ACLU and similar organizations with a flood of fascist regulations that no one could afford to fight.

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Lateralis 2 years ago

"The question is whether or not your beliefs should allow you to discriminate against others in housing, employment, etc."-Jafs

Well said. The answer is yes SO LONG as it's on private property. Public places like the DMV, and City Hall are not allowed to discriminate.

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kansanjayhawk 2 years ago

I guess calling names--nuts--might make you feel better but the reality is that the freedom of religion is very important in this nation and that includes the abiltiy to call sin what it is sin! We should not be compelled against our religious beliefs to engage in our allow our private property to be used for things that violate our consciences. This is a good piece of legislation to protect all Kansans in the ability to worship God and obey His commands as they see fit.

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Lateralis 2 years ago

Republicans and Democrats not just Republicans.

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mikekt 2 years ago

Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 5: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (end of quote) The above is from the Sermon On The Mount & the Quoted Words Of Christ. It says "thou shall not be as" the Hypocrites ( people who act or pretend to be spiritual by putting on a visible public show of religious acts of devotions ) are" Didn't mention any exceptions to "Thou Shall Not Be As",... for the Re-Publican Party,... The Tea Party,.... the Ks. House,.... our Governor ..........or for the "Right-Wing-Nuts-in general", who all run around claiming to be so divinely inspired & religiously above whoever. When it comes to those people, it is all about... "Preying" on the public,... as a cat would Prey on a mouse. Question is, did Matthew screw up that quote?.. or did Christ not understand what He was talking about?...............which is the way that these people seem to be thinking, based on their actions & their obsessions with public prayer!!! How Strange!!!

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Lateralis 2 years ago

The fault here is on the ignorant fools that were not so hospitable. They suffered the consequences. It’s incumbent upon the people to remove those in charge to provide the incentive to behave appropriately. The state lost jobs too but it’s all part of protecting property rights. It’s a curse and a blessing at the same time. My right to my property supersedes the wants (not rights) of those that may or may not be discriminated on PRIVATE property.

Can you be more specific on your example above? How was it made clear to the prospective businessman that he was not welcome?

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Jimo 2 years ago

I've related this before but I'll mention it again.

Some number of years ago I was asked to accompany the upper management of a company that was considering moving some operations to Kansas. (I knew them already from business dealings. I lived in Kansas.)

Long story short, in the course of the "sales jobs" that the state economic development folks and some local city/county people from the locality they were looking at did, these people wanted to emphasize the "livability" of Kansas. Ironically, this should have been a paean to the virtue of small town life, low crime, decent schools, etc. But unfortunately for one fellow this meant something along the lines of 'we have a lot of stable married couples not broken families or homosexuals or child molesters.'

Needless to say, Kansas didn't get that relocation. Maybe a hundred fairly good paying jobs lost.

Seems that the Kansas GOP just doesn't get that a closed minded approach to the diversity of our fellow man isn't just nice, or some minimum of politeness - it's good business. Kansas isn't going to signal that it's "open for business" by screaming "we don't like people different from us." (But hey, I'm sure Kansans already have enough good jobs.)

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tomatogrower 2 years ago

The first time a business discriminates, then we should organize a boycott. We have a right to do business with whomever we want also. Of course, that won't work in little towns, since sometimes that's all there is. It could really hurt some in larger towns though. Remember, get the word out when someone is discriminated against on "religious grounds". We need to start a tweet following and a website. Put those businesses and people out there for all to see.

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Jimo 2 years ago

Why does Kansas keep begging to be sued at the taxpayers' expense?

I would direct the Legislature to Romer v. Evans, then Employment Division v. Smith, and then United States v. Lee.

This strikes me as a variant on this "stand your ground" gun law where "fear" is used as a mask for garden variety manslaughter while here "religion" is used to engage in garden variety discrimination.

When one engages in commerce, one sets aside one's peculiar religious beliefs, and is bound to the ordinary application of the laws. Do you find that this unacceptably conflicts with your religion? Don't engage in commerce then. No one makes you enter the real estate rental market!

Want to pass a state law keeping localities from protecting gays from discrimination? SC already said no. Trying to complicate the matter by invoking the 1st amendment to empower you to force other people to be bound by religious beliefs in conflict with their own religious beliefs isn't going to cut it.

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Lateralis 2 years ago

I don’t think it’s that complicated. Private institution and private practices. If discrimination happens in public or in a public place it’s a crime. It’s unconstitutional.

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William Weissbeck 2 years ago

How sincere does your religious belief have to be? If you go to church once a month, is that enough? And what if your church leaders are against the discrimination, do you get to have your own opinions? And if like Fred Phelps, you declare yourself a church, do you get to have your own beliefs?

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Jayhawk1958 2 years ago

I"m afraid to travel now because of our bad reputation as a state.

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usnsnp 2 years ago

In the military you do not ask what a persons religion is, you do not talk about religion and for the most part you do not care what religion a fellow sailor practices. All you care about is now good a job the other person does, because no matter what religion you are, you may have to rely on another person to save your life. Any body that attempts go gain power or advantage over others, or says one religion is better than another, has lost the true meaning of what religion is.

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Lateralis 2 years ago

This bill is to protect peoples right to discriminate on private property. Discrimination is terrible but I have a right to be as much of a bigot as I want. You can't force people to change their hearts and minds. Take the civil rights act. The spirit was admirable but to force people on private property to serve those that they don't like is a greater tragedy. My wife is not white and I have asked several members of her family the following question.

If you knew that the restaurant you went to eat at was operated by racists would you go? The answer 100% of the time is no.

Wouldn't you want to identify where you're welcome or not? 100% respond yes

Again, it all comes back to society playing their role in shaping the hearts and minds of ignorant people. The civil rights act and this ordinance are violations of private property rights afforded to all Americans racist, bigot, fair minded, or otherwise.

"I certainly hope that the day Brownback signs this bass-ackwards piece of crap into law...every gay landlord in the state immediately evicts all their Christian tenants; every gay restaurant owner immediately refuses to serve Christians; etc., etc.,........ Ditto for pagans, atheists, etc., etc.,.....Give these holier-than-thou donkey orifices a taste of their own BS" - KSManimal

I couldn't have said it better myself. This is a correction that comes from the private citizens and is much more effective than passing any law.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years ago

This bill isn't intended to protect religious freedom, it is intended to protect a particular sect of christian freedom.

However, in their self-righteous zeal, the bill's supporters have actually opened up additional protections for groups like the Phelps family. Supporters of this bill want to "protect" those who hide their hate behind religion.

What they are doing is protecting those who openly hate like Fred Phelps.

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texburgh 2 years ago

Supported by the Kansas Catholic Conference. Yet one more nail in the coffin of the Catholic Church. I was once a practicing Catholic but as the church moved more and more toward becoming another evangelical, fundamentalist quasi-religious organization, I stopped going. I still see myself as a Catholic but not the new kind of Catholic. I guess that makes me a CINO - the Catholic equivalent of Republicans like Charlie Roth (now called RINOs by their own party). Old school Republicans like Dole and Kassebaum and Eisenhower could never be elected in Kansas today. Just as they are being purged from the Republican party, Catholics like myself who were raised in a church that put social justice, workers rights, defense of the poor first - the 60's "radical priest" kind of church - have been marginalized and driven out. I won't go back.

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KSManimal 2 years ago

Anyone's right to practice their religion goes just as far as their right to swing their fist: it ends where another person's nose begins.

I certainly hope that the day Brownback signs this bass-ackwards piece of crap into law...every gay landlord in the state immediately evicts all their Christian tenants; every gay restaurant owner immediately refuses to serve Christians; etc., etc.,........ Ditto for pagans, atheists, etc., etc.,.....Give these holier-than-thou donkey orifices a taste of their own BS.

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Roland Gunslinger 2 years ago

Philippians 2:4 tells us to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Is this law looking out for the interests of others or just your own?

In Matthew 7, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against false teachers, and he offers a principle that can be used to test good teaching from bad teaching. By their fruit, you will recognize them, he says. Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Good teachings, according to Jesus, have good consequences. Good teachings are not destructive to human dignity. They don’t lead to emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth.

In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner.

But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. How can we, as mortals, declare good what God declared as bad?

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Jeff Supernaw 2 years ago

Supported by the Concerned Women for America of Kansas. CWAKs. ; )

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Mixolydian 2 years ago

This is just the watered down state version of the Federal RLUIPA law (Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act) It was signed into law by Bill Clinton. It's not that earth shattering.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

Big deal.

"Bigger" news is Manning as head coach of Tulsa.

This is great news.

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Abdu Omar 2 years ago

How do you know what Jesus would do? Have you spoken to him lately? I doubt it. Jesus had principles and was a great teacher, his religion prohibited homosexuality and called it an abomination. So do you really think he would go back on his beliefs? Do you think he would allow what God has made unlawful?

Too many people think Jesus would just turn his cheek to the awfulness of this life. He wouldn't, he would stand against it but try to do it in a peaceful way. Asking who was without sin so they could "throw the first stone" didn't mean "everyone sins so its ok". It is NOT OK and means that only God has retribution, not mankind.

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Katara 2 years ago

So when are we going to get a bill brought forth that addresses jobs?

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TheShaman 2 years ago

"But State Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, defended his bill, saying it was meant to make sure government could not infringe on an individual's religious beliefs."

So what if I belong to a church that is not only ok with gay marriage, but supports it and is willing to conduct gay marriage ceremonies? Most Universalist churches are good with gay marriage and I've been to one at an Episcopal Church and officiated by an Episcopal priest.

Now say I'm a state worker and the state tells me I can't put my partner on my health insurance benefits. Is not the state now infringing on my religious beliefs by telling me that my church sanctioned marriage is invalid?

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parrothead8 2 years ago

It would be great if people would stop using religion as an excuse to discriminate. Jesus wouldn't have denied shelter to someone because of their sexual orientation.

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mikekt 2 years ago

Well now,... the Re-Publicans have their "Prayer Room," so now they will have another place, to "Prey" on the public from! What do they call this new.... "preyer room"?....... The "Bat Cave"? No offense meant to Batman... but it sounds like "a name" based on the type of Bloodsuckers, who created it & will hang out there, "to be seen of others", as being so religiously.......... whatever?! Count Brownback...ula is on a quest for new political blood to suck & it looks as if he found it. There is a sucker born every day! Honestly! Some just can't get enough of this pseudo religious phony stuff & Brownback & Company are going to serve it up to them! I guess that some people want to be abused;.... or to abuse others, as part of a group?! Strange!!!!

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mom_of_three 2 years ago

What if someone refuses to rent to college students because they are afraid they will party, even if there is no proof beforehand? Or refuse to rent to a single woman because she might be on birth control? or refuse to rent to a single mother because she wasn't married and had children? And how do you prove that your religion prohibits those things? Do you need a letter from your minister and several witnesses saying you go to church every Sunday or just say that you are a spiritual person and it violates my beliefs?

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JM Andy 2 years ago

I literally just threw up in my mouth. Welcome to Brownbackistan.

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Caz Snwot 2 years ago

Sweet! Finally a place that the government will allow me to express my love for a hire power while working for the government without being disrespected. It is about time we lay waste to the doubters and open the doors to true believers. Praise Allah!

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hujiko 2 years ago

"where ignorance is common sense and senselessness the norm"

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Enlightenment 2 years ago

So if this goes through, I think the gay community should become a religious group so they can have the same protection and rights.

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voevoda 2 years ago

If a landlord can refuse to rent an apartment to gays because their lifestyle violates his religion, can't he equally refuse to rent an apartment to a divorcee because her lifestyle violates his religion? Or maybe a Hindu landlord can refuse to rent to people who eat beef.
It actually doesn't violate anybody's Christian tenets to rent an apartment to somebody who is sinner--no matter what the sin. So even in religious terms, this law is ridiculous.

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Enlightenment 2 years ago

I'm not sure if the elected officials are really that bigoted or if the people that are electing these fools that ignorant.

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headdoctor 2 years ago

At the rate these idiots are going to be filling the Kansas Supreme Court and perhaps the Federal Supreme Court dockets, Kansas will be bankrupt just paying legal fees defending their actions.

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Enlightenment 2 years ago

This has to be unconstitutional.

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Boston_Corbett 2 years ago

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

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