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Committee Could Vote On Bill To Protect Those Who Don't Recognize Same-Sex Unions This Week

A committee in the Kansas Legislature could vote this week on a bill aiming to protect religious freedom.

The bill says businesses, individuals and other groups with strong religious beliefs can't be forced to recognize same-sex marriage or provide employment or other services to same-sex couples.

Michael Schuttloffel is with the Kansas Catholic Conference. He used the example of a photographer asked to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony.

"We think a Christian should be able to start a photography business and run it without having to participate in ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs," Schuttloffel said.

The bill's opponents say it would provide legal protection for discrimination. Cristel Heffron, from Peck, visited the Statehouse to speak against the bill. She says she's happily married with two stepchildren.

"I should probably stop there. Did i forget to mention that my spouse is also a woman? So according to this bill, I am very different from you," Heffron said. "This bill says my marriage is not valid."

Last year, Gallup polling showed that a slight majority of Americans favored allowing gay marriages nationwide. Gallup said the issue had reached "a tipping point."