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    GOP State Senator's Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' 'License To Discriminate' Bill Advances

    Legislation Also Nullifies Local LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinances

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    Republican Kentucky State Senator Albert Robinson's bill protecting people who have a religious objection to same-sex marriage and LGBT people passed a committee vote, 8-1, Thursday. The legislation, SB 180, is styled on similar "religious freedom" bills that have or are making their way throughout the nation's state legislatures. It would ban the government from taking any action against anyone who refuses to provide a service or sell a product to a same-sex couple or LGBT person based on their religious beliefs.

    The bill specifically protects those who "provide customized, artistic, expressive, creative, ministerial, or spiritual goods or services, or judgments, attestations, or other commissions that involve protected rights." In other words, florists, bakers, and photographers, as well as pastors, preachers, and other faith leaders who might be asked to perform a service or sell a product to a same-sex couple.

    “All of these business owners want to treat everyone with full human dignity and respect,” Senator Robinson (photo, right) told the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. “But their consciences and religious beliefs prevent them from using their skills to promote a celebration that runs counter to what the Bible teaches about marriage. Shouldn’t their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion be respected?”

    “There is an agenda at work here that seeks to force people with sincerely held religious convictions to either abandon these beliefs or violate them or face state action that could close their businesses and destroy them financially,” Robinson added.

    The bill actually claims that its purpose is to ensure government does not "diminish equality."

    And it effectively nullifies local ordinances that offer LGBT nondiscrimination protections. Eight cities and towns in Kentucky – Lexington, Louisville, Covington, Morehead, Frankfort, Danville, Midway and Vicco, the Herald-Leader states – offer protections to LGBT citizens. Some of those would be rendered null should the bill become law.

    “It’s a clear attack on the eight cities that passed anti-discrimination fairness ordinances to protect LGBT people,” Chris Hartman, director of the Louisville-based Fairness Campaign, told the Herald-Leader. “They made it crystal clear during the committee hearing that that’s what their aims are. So we’ll be doing everything we can to halt the progress of this legislation.”

    The Courier-Journal reports the bill was "written in part by the Family Foundation of Kentucky."

    UPDATE:
    Here's a tweet Sen. Robinson posted a few days ago regarding another bill:

     

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