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Kansas tea party group renews push for anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill

Sunday, February 23, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. — A Wichita, Kan.-based tea party group has launched an email campaign urging its members to pepper state lawmakers with messages in support of a bill that allows service refusal to same-sex couples on religious grounds.

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

Craig Gabel, leader of Kansans for Liberty, sent a message addressed to “conservative activists” asking them to contact senators who are refusing to allow a vote on a house bill dubbed the Kansas Religious Freedom Act, reported The Wichita Eagle.

The bill easily passed the House but was put on hold in the Senate after a nationwide outcry over what critics called state sanctioning of discrimination against gay people.

Supporters of the measure argue that it protects freedom of religion by allowing people to deny service if providing it “would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.”

One of the sample letters activists are asked to email to senators asserts that the bill also protects the freedom of LGBT people by allowing those who own businesses to deny service to individuals who don’t share their beliefs.

“If an LGBT couple owned a meeting space would any of us like to force them to rent it for an anti-gay rally and wedding?” the sample letter says. “Should an African American and his LGBT partner be forced to lease his space or services for a KKK wedding?”

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Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, a gay-rights group, said it’s “false, start to finish” to assert the House bill does anything to protect gay rights.

“The sophistry is breathtaking,” he said. “There’s only one target in this bill and it is gay couples.”

The only people who would benefit from the legislation are anti-gay individuals who would gain legal protection if they defy their employers and refuse to serve gay couples, he said.

A similar measure was passed in the Arizona state legislature last week and is awaiting the governor’s signature, while bills in South Dakota, Idaho, Maine and Tennessee were defeated or withdrawn.

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58 more reader comments:

  1. Morons.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:27pm
  2. Here it goes again.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:27pm
  3. What a bunch of IDIOTS!!!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:28pm
  4. Are atheists allowed to deny service to christians?

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:28pm
  5. One could argue with the language of the bill, yes you could.

    Replied on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:44pm
  6. In practice, that wouldn't happen. Discrimination relies on favoritism from those on high. The reason they like to use phrases like "sincerely held beliefs" is because they then define anything NOT conservative Christianity to be INSINCERE BELIEFS. So in practice, you'd find yourself slapped with a discrimination lawsuit even as other businesses discriminated just as much as they pleased against atheists.

    Replied on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:37pm
  7. You americans love lawesuits right? :D

    Replied on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:55pm
  8. Philipp Onassis - someone needs to pay our lawyers' student loans.

    Replied on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 7:02pm
  9. Stand for injustice stand God love all of us

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:29pm
  10. November is just around the corner and hopefully the good people (sane people) of Kansas will vote these idiotic tea partiers OUT of office!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:29pm
  11. LGBT need to form a religion so we can just say, “guess you don’t know what to do now!”

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:30pm
  12. Who Are these people?!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:30pm
  13. F these hateful troglodytes.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:31pm
  14. We have MCC & many gay affirming churches.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:33pm
  15. Basic rule of thumb: If the Tea Party wants a bill to pass, it should be destroyed. If the Tea Party wants a bill to be removed, it should pass with the most elaborate of ceremonies and a press conference from the signers lauding the beauty of the bill.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:35pm
  16. This is nothing more than discrimination depriving people liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:35pm
  17. I like the part where they compare themselves to the KKK

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:35pm
  18. Insanity is obviously contagious.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:36pm
  19. Apparently so is Bigotry.

    Replied on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:28pm
  20. It’s time for a federal law banning this crap. Marriage equality and discrimination bans need to come from the federal level so states like this can’t do this. It’s ridiculous.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:37pm
  21. the fury against the tide of a losing battle…mire your state in federal law suits trying to recapture the loving feeling of 1963…

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:37pm
  22. Not good.  Shared

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:37pm
  23. well then there is the determining people are Gay! how do you know??? they could be friends or relatives i go everywhere with my sister!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:40pm
  24. This proves that religious beliefs have been taken to an unhealthy level and is damaging to others. They can’t control who we are or what we do or who we love and I don’t care what part of the government they run. Just because they run for our country does NOT mean they’re always right and they are doing their job in a irresponsible unprofessional way. This also shows that they don’t care about the American people, they are selfish and only give a dam about themselves. We don’t need people like that running for our country. Nothing but a bunch of ignorant hateful bigoted pigs.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:40pm
  25. It’s time for the liberals to do the same! Send them thousands upon thousands of letters, emails and phone calls demanding they reject hatred! We by far out number those Tea Bagging Scum of the country. Now it’s time to prove it!!!
    Write, call email daily…

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:42pm
  26. They’re all nuts, I swear. Nobody’s infringing on their religious rights.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:42pm
  27. …why is the lunatic fringe getting SO much attention?….everyone knows that these people are dumber than a bag of hair, and these laws will never survive a constitutional challenge…so lighten up people….we know that these a’holes are out there but legally, they are nothing but a band of limp dicks!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:43pm
  28. Oh my god. Just stop already; you should try improving your community instead of singling out a group of people for you to dump your hate on! These are peoples lives and you’re diminishing their chances of living them fully because you’re full of anger and hatred!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:44pm
  29. Good luck GOP your fixing to lose huge in this election year…

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:48pm
  30. Well fuck that shit

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:51pm
  31. This Tea Party movement is the work of Satan

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:54pm
  32. My ex does NOT look gay. If he goes to one of this places. How they will know he is gay?

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:55pm
  33. Or is this descriminating against those who look gay? What if thet only look gay but they are” not” gay?

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:56pm
  34. I know lots of men who look gay but they “aren’t gay.”

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:58pm
  35. And that’s why the church I attend “when I’m not working anyway work 2 jobs…” welcomes anyone and anyone bisexual, lesbian, and so on are welcome and don’t have to feel strange about going there either.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:59pm
  36. Send them to Russia!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:59pm
  37. Let’s round up all these extremist fanatics and force them all to live with their hatred in Arizona & Kansas?

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:59pm
  38. Anthony Farley — ughhhh!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:00pm
  39. called united.church of.Christ where I go case others need somewhere and are.some in other states too I’m sure.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:00pm
  40. C’mon tea baggers why are you so afraid? because we have balls & we thought you liked those.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:01pm
  41. This bill’s not going to happen. Give up you religious bigots!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:06pm
  42. They just won’t learn, will they?! #again

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:17pm
  43. give it up, assholes.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:18pm
  44. Churches don’t pay taxes but are represented by the tea party. Gays pay taxes and are shunned by the tea party. What happened to the tea party being against taxation without representation? Oh, that’s right. It’s the tea party.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:26pm
  45. tea party can gtfo.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:29pm
  46. Bunch of bigots

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:31pm
  47. How will they know who is gay, ? Are the men going to have sex with the men & women with women? Then everyone is gay. Or tattoo a giant pink triangle on people they ‘suspect ‘ is gay? This reeks of Holocaust .. Are the tea thugs really willing to turn out a Watch List like Hitler did to kill over 6 million Jews. This Pick-n-Choose crap has to stop Now..

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:31pm
  48. Next they’ll be burning people at the stake!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:32pm
  49. It is a shame what these right wing bigots and haters have done to the once great Republican party. If they spent as much time trying to do good for all people instead of going after people they think their Bible tells them are sinning what a great country we could be. I think they are using the Bible to hide behind and also they pick and choose what they want to believe or not believe. Christian’s they are not and will never be with the hate they have in their hearts. Jesus was all about Love and not judging others.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:36pm
  50. Hate knows no boundaries in its efforts

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:38pm
  51. The Tea Party is the biggest sham. They claim to be all about freedom, but who’s? They are a bunch of racist bigots. Where were they when the idiot president Bush was spending like the cocaine addict he is?

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:42pm
  52. It’s time to protest homophobia at the state house!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:52pm
  53. I am straight and people are gay.Ray Boltze the greatest Christian singer is gay and im sure pople don’t say to him we aren’t serving you because you are gay.and you hear all this talk that gay people are going to hell. I don’t think God is going to send Ray Boltze to hell or people for being gay. I do read in the Bible where it says all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire but I even doubt that.everyone has lied. Im pretty sure their were gay people back in the Bible days and I don’t think Jesus would deny service to them. then there is the part in the Bible where it said God destroyed Sodom and Gamorrah because of the sin. I don’t even know if I believe that part and I am a Christian.just remember that men wrote the bible and they could had put anything they wanted to in the bible.as Ray Boltze said he is not going to hide what he is because God made him that way. I don’t know about that but people who are gay it is in there system and they cant help it. so after all these years of condemning these people I no longer do this.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:57pm
  54. I sincerely believe we must all be respectful to LGBTQ family and allow all marriages. I also think we must not force out beliefs on people either. If we want our freedoms, we must respect each other in order to live in harmony.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 7:02pm
  55. Is this the United States of America or some sort of third world country?

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 7:02pm
  56. i’ll push for businesses to place “no tea party members” signs on their doors. sounds fair.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 7:02pm
  57. You know, I am sick and tired of hearing about the “religious” aspect of these bills that are either being proposed or passed. I think that it is time that churches start being taxed. If the religious sect is going to influence law, then let them pay taxes!!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 7:20pm
  58. BOOO!

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 7:29pm