Gay-rights advocates rallying at Kansas Statehouse

Topeka State Capital Building

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Gay-rights supporters are rallying at the Kansas Statehouse to protest anti-gay marriage legislation that critics contend would encourage discrimination.

Organizers of Tuesday afternoon’s rally include the gay-rights group Equality Kansas, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

They oppose a bill to prohibit government fines and anti-discrimination lawsuits when people, groups, businesses cite their religious beliefs in refusing to provide goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

Backers have said the measure focuses on protecting gay-marriage opponents from being punished for following their religious beliefs in refusing to be involved in same-sex ceremonies.

But some businesses and business groups worried that the measure has broader implications after the House approved it earlier this month.

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