– Wichita-based Tea Party group Kansans for Liberty is launching an e-mail campaign to try to resurrect a state bill that would allow government workers and businesses to deny service to gay couples.

In a message addressed to “conservative activists,” Kansans for Liberty leader Craig Gabel is asking his members and others to e-mail members of the state Senate who are refusing to allow a vote on House Bill 2453, called the Kansas Religious Freedom Act.

The bill easily passed the House, but has been put on indefinite hold in the Senate after a nationwide protest that the bill would give state sanction to discriminate against gays.

Supporters of the bill say that it protects freedom of religion by allowing individuals to deny service if providing it “would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.”

In a letter to activists, Kansans for Liberty says: “This is not a Christian battle; this is a ­freedom battle, including the freedom of LGBT couples.”

It asserts that businesses run by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual individuals would benefit from being able to deny service to those who don’t share their beliefs.

“If an LGBT couple owned a meeting space, would any of us like to force them to rent it for an anti-gay rally and wedding?” the sample letter says.

Thomas Witt, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas, said it’s “false, start to finish,” to assert that HB 2453 does anything to protect LGBT individuals.

“The sophistry is breathtaking,” he said. “There’s only one target in this bill, and it is gay couples.”

Wichita Eagle