Kansas House Bill 2453 -- the bill we've been tracking for the last two months that would create a special right to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religion -- cleared a major hurdle in the House yesterday.
Lawmakers in that chamber gave overwhelming preliminary approval to the GOP-sponsored measure, voting 72-42 to advance it to a final vote scheduled for today. If the House passes the bill as expected, its next stop is the Kansas Senate.
The Kansas City Star reports that state Democrats who opposed the bill downplayed the LGBT angle:
In general, Democrats shied away from discussing the impact of the bill on same-sex couples. Instead, they focused their remarks on how the bill would hurt the "Kansas brand" and on how members of the business community had expressed concern.
House Minority Leader Paul Davis, the likely Democratic challenger to Gov. Sam Brownback, did not address the bill on the House floor. In a written statement issued afterward, he made no mention of marriage or same-sex couples. Instead, he contended the Legislature should be tackling more pressing economic issues.
"Every day we spend on issues like this is one day less this Legislature and Governor has to tackle the real, growing crises at hand," Davis said in the statement.
A handful of Republicans reportedly broke from their party to vote against the maliciously anti-LGBT measure, including GOP Rep. Barbara Bollier, who said after the vote, "I do not believe it is ever on the right side of history to be allowed to discriminate against people. Enough said."
It looks like we'll soon find out whether or not the Republican-controlled Kansas Senate agrees.
To learn more about HB 2453, click here.
Cartoon by artist Mike Ritter of the GA Voice.