With the legal climate uncertain for states banning gay marriage, Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal designed to protect people, groups and businesses refusing for religious reasons to recognize same-sex unions or to provide benefits to gay couples.
The bill's sponsor says it is designed to protect religious freedom. But critics say the measure promotes discrimination and is too broadly written.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on the other hand, is asking the legislature bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Current Missouri law prohibits discrimination in employment only based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex and disability.
Same-sex marriage is a controversial issue no matter where one lives. But the University of Missouri-Kansas City is confronting the topic, asking students to illustrate it's place in society.
In the exhibition, "Redefining Marriage in the 21st Century," UMKC art students interpret what marriage means in today's social and political climate.
A 15th century painting inspired the exhibition. It's meaning has changed through the decades as religious views and feminine roles have shifted.
Some of the artists have thought about the issue for the first time.
"I don't know if I'd want to get married if everyone can't get married right now," artist Christina Silvius said.
In her piece, she shows the constraints she feels are placed on women who "tie the knot."
The art is intended to support a healthy and educational discussion - a lecture series at the university echoes the same issues.
"These images might seem unfamiliar at first, but I think art has a way of starting a conversation, changing perspectives and making people really think about what they believe," said Marselle Bredemeyer, a member of the Graduate Art History Association Exhibition Committee.
UMKC is in full support of the project. The university is also sponsoring a special screening of the documentary Bride Groom, which is a love story between two men.
The art expo is at the UMKC Gallery of Art in the Fine Art's building. It is open through Feb. 20.
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