Kansas is about to try it..
On Tuesday, the Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure designed to bring anti-gay segregation—under the guise of “religious liberty”—to the already deep-red state. The bill, written out of fear that the state may soon face an Oklahoma-style gay marriage ruling, will now easily pass the Republican Senate and be signed into law by the Republican governor. The result will mark Kansas as the first state, though certainly not the last, to legalize segregation of gay and straight people in virtually every arena of life.Oh dear. I have questions.
What does this mean? The bill is pretty wide-reaching. But is it for a specific belief (gays are gross and them being out is gross!) or any "sincerely held religious belief"?
Can I, if my sincerely held religious belief felt that women should never, ever speak, refuse service to any woman who dared open her mouth? Keep quiet, slattern!
Can I, if my sincerely held religious belief held that "race-mixing" was evil, could I refuse service to interracial heterosexual couples, even as far as refusing to sign their marriage certificates?
Can I, if my sincerely held religious belief held that marriages must produce children, refuse service to customers who I know are married and I know deliberately aren't having children? Can I snatch the food right off the table if I own a restaurant? Force my clerks to refuse to check them out at the checkout line?
If my sincerely held religious belief holds that all men must be bearded, can I refuse service to a non-bearded man, even as a police officer? Sorry you got shot brah, you weren't wearing a proper beard. It's my religion. I sincerely hold the belief and the law absolves me of any wrong when my religious beliefs are sincerely held because I said they are. Sucks to be you. Enjoy meeting Jesus.
My sincerely held belief really is not about that eating-of-shellfish life. I shouldn't be punished for burning down a Red Lobster. It's my sincerely held religious belief. I sincerely held it. So I sincerely burned down that Red Lobster as an abomination to my Lord.
I can go on and on and on. My "sincerely held religious belief" is anti-Semetic. My "sincerely held religous belief" believes intelligent falling should be taught in schools and not the "Theory of Gravity." It's JUST A THEEEEROOORYYY. My "sincerely held religious belief" feels I, as a man, should have 55 wives under the age of 18. It's not statutory. It's religion and therefore, it's the law.
The bill says gay people only.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples—not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.So Billy? You're too femme to get your drivers license. We think you're gay, says the Kansas DMV (or DOT...I am not sure if the DMV and DOT are separate entities there like in some states.) Same to you Sarah. Girls should be in dresses. They shouldn't have bob haircuts. You're gay. No license for you! That is our sincerely held religious belief!
John and Dave? Now you're friends and all, but two men eating dinner together? totes gay. Get out of my restaurant. I don't care if you have wives. Gay. Sincerely held religious belief. I'm allowed to discriminate. It's the law.
You know what, Kansas legislators who approved this garbage, and the governor who likely will sign it? When your god hates all the things you hate, you've made your trash-ass-piece-of-fascist-shit deity in your own image. And your image is trash. Fuck your "sincerely held beliefs." They're garbage. These people have garbage beliefs. My sincerely held beliefs about this, well, I'll keep them to myself. I don't put my "sincerely held beliefs" into law so I can discriminate against people I don't like.
This will blow up in Kansas's face. I am really sorry too and I will contribute to any progressive or liberal or even a moderate who helps stem Kansas's backslide into, for lack of a better word, theocratic fascism because people's "sincerely held religious beliefs" means they are required to, without thought, hate other people for the way they were born.