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Kansas House passes bill to refuse service to same-sex couples - KOAM TV 7

Kansas House passes bill to refuse service to same-sex couples

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The Kansas House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow businesses to refuse some goods and services to same sex couples.

House Bill 2453 allows private and public employees to not serve same sex couples based on religious beliefs. 

Supporters believe the bill will protect those on both sides of the aisle. Opponents say it's a move in the wrong direction for the state. 

"It's just back tracking this is appalling," said Julie Gelpke. 

Gelpke is a Diversity Coordinator for the National Organization for Women. 

"I think it's going to make headlines on how discriminatory it is," said Gelpke. 

Supporters say the bill would protect photographers, florist, and bakers from becoming legal targets for not participating in same sex weddings.
 
District 17 House Representative Brett Hildabrand voted in favor of the proposed legislation. 

"If a person were asked to participate in a marriage that did not agree with based on their religious beliefs they would be protected from a law suit for not participating in that," Hildabrand said.  

Hildabrand says there's a narrow focus to the bill, stating it's ultimately about religious beliefs. 

Some disagree, saying it's merely a vehicle for discrimination in a public setting. 

"We don't have to help people if their same sex couples how you know their gay or not," said Gelpke. 

"After there's been time to implement it people will see what it actually does and does not do I think people will appreciate the protection awarded on both sides of the issue," said Hildabrand.  

Head Pastor John Smithson at the Church of God in Pittsburg says he teaches his congregation to love thy neighbor. 

"I can only say as Christians we need to love people. That doesn't mean necessary agreeing with what they do but loving them in spite, and earning an opportunity to speak light into their life," said Smithson.  

The bill now moves on to the state senate. 

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