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Ky. Senate passes rental rights for religious groups’ facilities

FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP)–A bill allowing religious organizations to refuse to rent facilities to groups on the basis of religious concerns has gained approval in the Kentucky Senate.

House Bill 70, which passed the Kentucky Senate by a vote of 17-12 during the week of Feb. 21, previously passed the House by a vote of 82-17. It now awaits action by Gov. Paul Patton.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Kerr, came in response to concerns at Bullittsburg Baptist Assembly in Boone County. The camp, owned by Northern Kentucky Baptist Association, faced the options of renting to a group of atheists or violating current civil rights laws.

Kerr said the measure “restores religious liberty to our Kentucky churches to be able to exercise discretion in how their property is used.”

In other legislative action, Rep. Greg Stumbo introduced a bill that would allow the posting of Ten Commandments and other documents as part of “an elective course that uses religious or scriptural texts as instructional material.” It also would require such courses to treat religious texts “in an academic, balanced and objective manner” without favoring or disfavoring any religion or belief.

Stumbo’s proposal, (HB 814, is more narrow in scope than Senate Joint Resolution 57, another Ten Commandments-related measure that appears stalled in a House committee.

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