Media Contact

Micah Kubic, Executive Director
913.490.4101 
mkubic@aclukansas.org

March 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 15, 2016 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Micah Kubic Executive Director 913.490.4101 mkubic@aclukansas.org 

Kansas House vote to create taxpayer-funded discrimination at public colleges and universities is shameful
 
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (March 15, 2016) – This afternoon, the Kansas House of Representatives voted 80-39 to pass SB 175, a bill that creates a new right to public funding for religious student groups on Kansas college and university campuses – even if they engage in discrimination.  The following statement may be attributed to Micah Kubic, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas: 

“Today, the Kansas House of Representatives chose to stand on the side of discrimination and exclusion.  By supporting SB 175, the Kansas Legislature has signaled that it not only tolerates but embraces and encourages discrimination against Kansans – based on race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or any other category one can imagine.  SB 175 is not just a benign tool to help religious groups ensure that they are made up of co-believers.  Its innocuous-sounding language instead creates a new, special right for religious groups to be publicly funded while they discriminate against anyone, they choose.  The possibility of discrimination isn’t speculative.  Religious belief has frequently inspired struggles against discrimination, but on occasion has also been used to justify it.  Through SB 175, even the most notorious hate groups would have an irrevocable right to taxpayer funding, provided they cited a religious belief. 

The Kansas Legislature chose to stand with discrimination even as this state and this country are moving in the direction of full equality.  The Legislature disregarded the wishes of students themselves in this matter – in 2015, the student governments at KU and Wichita State University both passed resolutions opposing the bill.  Polling released last year by the Docking Institute at Ft. Hays State University also showed that a strong majority of Kansas voters oppose laws like this one, which permit religious beliefs to be used to justify discrimination. 

It is a sad and shameful day when the Legislature chooses to stand on the side of providing taxpayer funds to promote discrimination.” 

The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union.  The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the united States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  For more information, please contact Micah Kubic at 913.490.4101 or visit our website at www.aclukansas.org
 

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News Coverage

"Kansas House endorses bill to shield faith-based campus organizations", Topeka Capital Journal, 03/15/2016

"Kansas House approves measure to enable campus religious groups to restrict membership", Wichita Eagle, 03/15/2016

"Kansas Asks Gov. to Let Student Groups Turn Away the Gays", The Advocate, 03/16/2016

"Mormon Scolded by Christian Group Is at Center of Kansas Law", ABC News, 03/16/2016

"Kansas College Groups Can Limit Members to Those Who Share Beliefs", U.S. News and World Report, 03/22/2016

"New law receives mixed reaction", KSNT.com, 03/22/2016

"Brownback signs bill allowing campus religious groups to restrict membership", Wichita Eagle, 03/22/2016