Kansas bill could soon legalize refusal of service to same-sex c - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Kansas bill could soon legalize refusal of service to same-sex couples

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Love is in the air. Couples are committing their lives to each other...but some businesses aren't willing to contribute to the celebration.

"If you're open to the public, you're there to serve the public," said Chuck Smith, with Equality Texas.

He's referring to House Bill 2453. It recently passed the Kansas house and offers legal protection to people and businesses that refuse service to same-sex couples.

Smith said, "I think it's an archaic piece of legislation that has no place in Kansas or anywhere else in 2014."

Jonathan Saenz, with Texas Values.

"Even in states like Kansas and Texas, gay marriage is not legal, so why should a business be forced to participate in a marriage ceremony and some type of marriage activity? The other side wants to make more of it, that's not what it's about," said Saenz.

Under the bill, government employees would also be immune from legal retribution should they decide to refuse service based on their religious beliefs.

Smith said, "At a governmental sector, that could mean that you might not be able to get your driver's license renewed."

Saenz said, "There's no evidence of that. That's completely false. It's clear the bill was written to deal with marriage issues."

Smith said, "This is no different than the Jim Crow laws that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to people of color."

"They have no idea what they're talking about," Saenz said. "Hispanic leaders like myself and African-American leaders have completely rejected the absurd arguments of comparing the civil rights movement to the so-called struggles that homosexual say exist today."

House bill 2543 is set to move on to the Kansas state senate.

Under the terms of the bill, people and businesses would also be allowed to refuse to acknowledge any gay marriage or civil union as valid.

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