Apparently, the latest craze in state legislatures are bills that supposedly prevent discrimination and breed tolerance of others’ views — by boldly and unconstitutionally discriminating against gay people. In short, states are now trying to print licenses to discriminate. Piers Morgan recently described one state’s bill as gay apartheid.
Yesterday, we told you about a Kansas bill that’s already passed the House and is on its way to the Republican-controlled Senate, and the Sunflower State’s virulently anti-gay Republican governor. That bill, clearly an example of anti-gay segregation, would allow anyone to refuse service of any kind to anyone else if they felt serving that person would somehow violate their religious beliefs. To grasp the enormity of this legislation, you should know the bill would allow everyone, from your doctor to your gardner to your children’s teachers to refuse to do perform their job for you. If you’re gay in Kansas, and you want a loan, a latte, or a lift to the train, you could be outta luck.
And two days ago, we reported on an Idaho Republican’s bill that would similarly “protect” the licenses of everyone, from doctors, nurses, and midwives, to athlete agents, cosmetologists, morticians, and social workers – anyone licensed by the state — from losing their occupational license if they refuse to do their job in service to a gay person, if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
Today, let’s talk about a far-reaching, drastic segregationist bill in the great state of Tennessee.
The text of Senate Bill 2566 (PDF) reads like a George Orwell novel.
The bill states that “protecting the free exercise of religion is a government interest of the highest order,” and “laws that protect the free exercise of religious beliefs regarding marriage will encourage private citizens and institutions to demonstrate tolerance of others’ beliefs.”
According to Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey — the original sponsor who rightly withdrew his sponsorship after news got out about the bill — and Republican state Sen. Mike Bell — who picked up where Kelsey’s conscience, or lack of conviction, intervened — SB 2566 will actually make Tennessee a more tolerant society by allowing anti-gay bigots to feel comfortable in their anti-gay bigotry.
Of course, the legislation, which, in Tennessee could easily pass, is wildly unconstitutional — here’s the portion of the bill that’s the most-offensive:
No person or religious or denominational organization shall be required to perform any of the following actions related to, or related to the celebration of, any civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by this state, if doing so would violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the person or religious or denominational organization regarding sex or gender:
(A) Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges;
(B) Provide counseling, adoption, foster care, or other social services;
(C) Provide employment or employment benefits; or
(D) Solemnize a civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by this state.
This applies not only people who are in a same-sex marriage, but to anyone who is LGBT.
And it means anyone can refuse to perform any service or refuse to sell you anything, because you’re LGBT.
So, from Kansas to Idaho to Tennessee — there are more on the way, stay tuned — if you’re gay, and especially if you’re in a same-sex marriage or relationship, good luck getting your trash picked up, your oil changed, your driver’s license renewed, an anniversary cake or flowers on Valentine’s Day, your children properly taught, a doctor to treat you, a “room at the inn,” or just about anything else that a “religious” person doesn’t feel like doing, in the name of God.
The real question may very well be not how these unconstitutional bills will affect LGBT people, but how these so called “religious” people will be received upon their judgment day.
Hat tip: The Raw Story
Image via the National Organization For Marriage on Facebook
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