A bill that would have allowed individuals to refuse to provide business services to same-sex couples in Kansas because of religious beliefs met a surprising and quick end last week when conservative senators sided with liberal advocates in saying that the measure promoted discrimination.
The bill had passed the House, 72 to 49, last Wednesday and it appeared that it might also easily sail through the Senate. Both chambers are controlled by conservative Republicans who in recent years have passed some of the most conservative legislation in the country, whether on gun control, abortion rights or taxes.
Susan Wagle, a conservative Republican who is president of the Kansas Senate, raised opposition to the House measure, saying she had “grown concerned about the practical impact of the bill” and “my members don’t condone discrimination.”
Susan Wagle needs to go “Wagle” her finger at the Republicans in the House and give them a firm lecture about discrimination. She won’t do it, of course, because the GOP does support discrimination (gay people can’t marry, that would be terrible). But even this measure went too far, and it seems the Senate GOP members were aware of it.
Here’s the deal: you know how all these gay marriage bans are getting struck down in court (the most recent was Virginia’s last week)? The door was opened when Christians demanded legislation that was clearly discriminatory. They won for a few years until the fruits of their bigoted efforts came back to bite them. That is exactly what would’ve happened here. Passing this measure would’ve cost Kansas taxpayers a great deal of money in a lawsuit and ultimately would have had the opposite effect. It seems some Republicans aren’t so eat up with temporarily satisfying their biblical bigotry that they can try to maintain the status quo.
Still, I’m glad the bill is dead. Maybe now Kansas legislators can move ahead with fixing education in the state…or fighting healthcare/contraception. Y’know, whichever seems more important.