Kansas College Religion Bill Advances

Kansas legislators have advanced a bill aimed at giving religious groups on state college campuses more control over their membership.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee approved a bill Thursday that’s drawn criticism from gay-rights supporters who believe it will protect groups that bar gays and lesbians as members and cite religious reasons.

The committee’s 12-10 vote sends the bill to the House for debate. The Senate approved it two weeks ago.

The measure would prohibit state universities, community colleges and technical colleges from refusing to recognize or withholding benefits to religious groups based on how they limit membership in line with sincerely held beliefs.

Supporters said the bill protects groups’ freedoms of association and worship.

Critics said colleges would be forced to support groups that discriminate.