Testimony Opposing Campus Religious Discrimination

This is testimony being delivered today by MainStream, in opposition to SB 175, "Exercise of religious freedom by postsecondary education student associations." 

House Committee on Federal and State Affairs
Hearing: Monday, March 30, 2015, 9:00 AM Room 346-S
SB 175 Exercise of religious freedom by postsecondary education student associations
Chair, Representative Steve Brunk, Steve.Brunk@house.ks.gov
Stephen Bainum, Committee Assistant, Stephen.Bainum@house.ks.gov , 785-368-7166 

 

Opposed to SB 175,

Representative Brunk and Committee Members,

MainStream Coalition appreciates the opportunity to share our concerns with SB 175 and for your consideration of our opposition to this post-secondary education bill.

MainStream Coalition is a non-partisan, grassroots organization. We grew from an outpouring of concerns over the infringement of governmental separation of powers and of church and state. For over two decades now, we have worked to advocate for state policies that perpetuate good governance and traditional Kansas moderate values.

Our primary concern with this bill is the required use of public funding for potentially discriminatory behavior. To be clear, MainStream Coalition supports the right for groups to be free to believe or behave in legal ways that are in accordance with their religious beliefs. However, if those beliefs are exclusionary to people of color, women, people with disabilities, openly gay individuals, or really anyone the religious group chooses they forfeit their access to public funds. Public tax payer dollars shall not be used to subsidize discrimination. The underlying premise of this bill would allow religious student groups on public college campuses to discriminate in their membership, and still receive public funding, provided that their discrimination is tied to religious belief.

Please consider that this bill would not only allow the sponsoring groups access to public funds
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christian Legal Society, and the Kansas Catholic Conference but would open access to all religious groups from Adventists Fellowship to Muslim Student Association to Wiccan Pagan Alliance.

We urge this committee to vote NO on this post-secondary education bill to subsidize discrimination (SB 175).

Respectfully submitted,

MainStream Coalition and Education Foundation

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