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Archive for Thursday, February 13, 2014

Senate president has concerns that gay-marriage bill discriminates

February 13, 2014, 6:42 p.m. Updated February 13, 2014, 6:51 p.m.

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The future of a House-approved bill that says people can cite religious beliefs to deny goods and services to same-sex couples was in doubt Thursday after Senate President Susan Wagle expressed concerns about the measure.

As a national uproar ensued over HB 2453, Wagle, a conservative Republican from Wichita, issued a statement that said she was "concerned about the practical impact of the bill."

Wagle added, "A strong majority of my members support laws that define traditional marriage, protect religious institutions, and protect individuals from being forced to violate their personal moral values.

"However, my members also don't condone discrimination. If we cannot find ample common ground to ease legitimate concerns, I believe a majority of my caucus will not support the bill."

Wagle's GOP caucus holds a 32-8 advantage in the Senate. Almost all Democrats oppose the legislation.

The bill was approved Wednesday in the House on a 72-49 vote. The Douglas County delegation, three Democrats and one Republican, voted against the bill.

Supporters of the measure said it would protect from lawsuits and government action individuals who refuse to provide services to same-sex couples because they believe homosexuality is morally wrong.

They said these peoples’ religious rights are being trampled by recent court decisions striking down other states’ bans on same-sex marriages.

“It’s just a protective measure to ensure the religious liberties we already have will stay in place the same no matter what happens in the future,” said Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Overland Park.

Gay-rights advocates said the bill would allow widespread discrimination against gays and lesbians that would be equivalent to the days when blacks or inter-racial couples were denied equal treatment.

They said that under the bill same-sex couples could be denied being served in restaurants or even that police could decide not to assist a same-sex married couple.

The bill said that a governmental entity could not require an individual or religious entity to treat a marriage as valid if doing so would be contrary to sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity.

Comments

Melinda Henderson 10 months, 1 week ago

Fear and loathing on the hateful discrimination trail. Too much negative national press today? Just a taste, Susan. Just a taste.

Julius Nolan 10 months, 1 week ago

So Susan is now trying to pretend she has some common sense and brains? What a joke, everyone in Kansas knows exactly who and what she is.

Thomas Bryce 10 months, 1 week ago

Her Concerns would most likely be confirmed by the Supreme Court. Making news on National News outlets may or may not have been their objective, but it got attention. I hope they like the attention.

Melinda Henderson 10 months, 1 week ago

Pretty sure the Guv didn't like it and asked Susan if she could oh so delicately fall on her sword at the end of the day.

MerriAnnie Smith 10 months, 1 week ago

Exactly, Melinda.

The gov wants to get re-elected and he wants to be the president. They've over-played their hands on this and now they're colluding with one another on how to stop the blood flow.

No sympathy from me. I think it's funny.

Richard Heckler 10 months, 1 week ago

She is trying to save her political butt. Susan Wagle cannot be trusted because being deceptive and corrupt has become second nature to this woman.

She has yet to say she will not vote for it nor has she organized any republican resistance.

Before any citizen gets to excited over Susan how about citizens see how the votes come down.

MerriAnnie Smith 10 months, 1 week ago

"They said that under the bill same-sex couples could be denied being served in restaurants or even that police could decide not to assist a same-sex married couple."

Who here would like to bet that there are not a lot of people in Kansas who would refuse to help gay people even if it is in their line of business?

What about emergency services? Would they legally be able to refuse to do emergency life-saving measures on gay people? Or to refuse to transport them in their ambulances?

Because... this law would attempt to give them a legal right to do that.

I say 'attempt' because the law is not constitutional and would be defeated by having Kansas taxpayers spend millions to challenge it, which would be successful since we all know, and the people at the statehouse also knows, it's not constitutional.

Used to be it was the Republicans who pounded the table over the constitutionality of everything. Now they seem to have a change of heart. I guess God gave Republicans the right to pick and choose the laws they wish to observe, but Democrats are supposed to interpret the constitution the way a Republican would do.

I have to wonder what this woman has up her sleeve. Frankly, I don't trust her. She wouldn't do and say what she's saying if she was going to be up for re-election while Brownback is still in office. He would get the Koch brothers to support his efforts to make her lose if she was serious. I suspect something fishy is going on in the background, a bit of collusion on the part of the far right and the governor.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 1 week ago

WOW!! I never imagined that I would find myself in agreement with Rep Wagel!!

The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or the practice thereof"

This proposed "law" is unconstitutional plain and simple. It establishes that religion or any other mindless reason will allow discrimination against anyone the believer chosses. How about two" straight as arrow" persons of the same gender apply for an apartment and the owner determines on the basis of his own prejudices and notions that these people are "gay", who is to refute this??/? What business anyhow is it of anyone's preferences? How the hell does that justify this stupid and ignorant law?

This smaks of the Koch Rigfime Kansas Government passing another law that allows Kansas law enforcement to arrest Federal Officers who are doing their jobs in enforcing the Federal gun laws.

Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

If pressed, I would have to say that individuals have religious rights, but corporations do not. Incorporated entities are not people. So, if an individual chose not to conduct transactions because of their religious beliefs, that would be within their rights, but if a business, or a person representing a business, refused to conduct business in an non-discriminatory manner, that business and person would be liable for prosecution or lawsuit.

MerriAnnie Smith 10 months, 1 week ago

We probably shouldn't warn the rednecks about that. Let them go ahead and discriminate based on the Kansas law, and then get sued.

We all need something to laugh about.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 1 week ago

If pressed I firmly believe that no one has the right to discriminate against anyone because of religious belief. You are entitled to whaever religious belief you may desire, and you may practice that belief as you choose. But that does not entitle you to use your religious belief to bash or dinigrate anyone who believes differently than you. All religion has been concocted by human beings who put on their pants one leg at t time same as all of us. Thee is nothing about any religion that is based on common sense or rational thought. You are entitled to believe whateer you want but when it becomes a weapon that you choose to attack anyone who is not a member of your religion or any religion, then it becomes discrimination.

Jonathan Fox 10 months, 1 week ago

I've copied the first few lines of the actual bill since even the LJW didn't bother to actually read it.

Lets at least try to argue over the truth and not distort what the bill is actually meant to protect.

AN ACT concerning religious freedoms with respect to marriage. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas: Section 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender: (a) Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, RELATED TO THE CELEBRATION OF ANY MARRIAGE, DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP, CIVIL UNION OR SIMILAR ARRANGEMENT;

This bill is specifically in reference to marriage. The bill only allows provisions for refusal of business GIVEN it is related to, or related to the CELEBRATION of marriage, domestic partnership, civil union, etc...

This isn't a blanket law for refusing service to say someone coming into say a restaurant, grocery store, coffee shop, hospital, tire shop, etc...

It allows provision for those who do wedding services and wish not to endorse that lifestyle through their marriage related services.

David Reber 10 months, 1 week ago

I'm not a lawyer but I think you're misreading that, Jonathan.

"no individual.... shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs.... REGARDING SEX OR GENDER:"

So, it isn't just about marriage. It's about ANY religious beliefs regarding sex or gender. Like, for example, perhaps a belief that women shouldn't work, or go to school, or show their ankles in public, or any number of other things. And if you look closely at what follows the "(a)", you will see a semicolon after this:

"Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, good, or privileges;"

My understanding of the semicolon is that is separates two independent pieces within a passage. The above piece lists things that nobody can be required to do if it runs counter to their religion regarding sex or gender. It says nothing about marriage.

So, according to this bill, if my religion says women should not go to school; then I as a teacher could legally refuse to teach female students. My employer - a governmental entity - would just have to suck it up and keep me on the payroll anyway.

MerriAnnie Smith 10 months, 1 week ago

"RELATED TO THE CELEBRATION OF ANY MARRIAGE, DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP, CIVIL UNION OR SIMILAR ARRANGEMENT;"

A lot of knowledgeable people have determined that this wording is far too loose and can be construed by determined people to mean just about anything they can twist it to mean.

Suppose two gay people get married and on the way back out to their cars they get run over and need emergency help. Any fool who works for EMS can say they're not going to give them medical help because they got hurt in the process of having rice thrown at them after getting married.

It wouldn't take a lot of imagination for a bigot to twist any situation into some connection with the gays celebrating any "similar arrangement."

I suppose the rest of the bill is also important to consider and not just the first few paragraphs.

Sarah Johnson 10 months, 1 week ago

You left out two incredibly key words and a critical comma. The actual language after employment benefits is:

"related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement."

Yes, the bill is specific to marriages or similar relationships. But, no, it is not limited to the actual celebration, like the wedding reception.

If you remove the "related to the celebration of" clause, as the commas say you can, you are left with:

"related to...any marriage, domestic partnership..."

Do you see how that makes a difference? So now, is a restaurant providing a service "related to a marriage" if it serves a couple dinner? How about a hotel providing a room to a couple?

Richard Heckler 10 months, 1 week ago

There is no rewriting of this ignorant homophobic legislation. It goes in the trash.

Remember this is the same party and leadership that consistently supports tax cuts for the Kansas 1% and votes against public education. Yes that is Susan Wagle absolutely!

MerriAnnie Smith 10 months, 1 week ago

I'd like to have been a fly on the wall when the whole bunch of them realized their stupid as dirt and now everybody else knows it, too.

Steve King 10 months, 1 week ago

They are stupid as dirt. And they thought we were. Is why they tried it.

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