Kansas Mulls Response to Uncertainty on Gay Marriage

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - In an uncertain legal climate for states banning gay marriage, Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal designed to protect individuals, groups and businesses refusing for religious reasons to recognize same-sex unions or to provide benefits to gay couples.

State Rep. and Shawnee Republican Charles Macheers says the bill is designed to protect religious freedom. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is receptive to the idea, though he hasn't yet studied the proposal enough to offer a formal endorsement.

But critics say the measure promotes discrimination against gays and lesbians but is so broadly written that it could affect any gay or straight couple with a less-than-traditional union.

The Kansas House's Federal and State Affairs Committee scheduled a Tuesday morning hearing on the measure.

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