Kansas Senate passes bill protecting campus religious groups

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has approved a bill designed to protect religious groups on public college campuses that want to restrict their memberships to people who share their beliefs.

The vote Thursday was 30-8 and sends the measure to the House.

The bill says that state universities, community colleges and technical colleges can’t refuse to recognize or deny campus facilities to groups that limit membership based on their religious beliefs.

Supporters of the bill say it protects groups’ religious liberties.

Some critics have worried that the bill would force taxpayer-funded colleges to recognize groups that exclude gays and lesbians.

The measure is a response to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision saying that universities could adopt anti-bias policies requiring religious groups to accept anyone who wants to join.

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