Despite the string of ongoing defeats in Kansas, Tennessee, Arizona, that doesn't stop more states from trying. Next up on the bat is Missouri.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On the heels of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoing what was described as a religious freedom bill by supporters, a similar measure is being proposed for Missouri.It seems as though some groups just can't stop hurting themselves.
Lawmakers in Jefferson City have introduced a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to anyone they choose based on religious preference.
"It's being sold as religious freedom but it's plainly evident that it is thinly disguised efforts to be able to discriminate," said Donna Ross, pastor at Zion United Church of Christ in St. Joseph.
Ross says she believes the push for religious freedom bills are a backlash against the gay community for growing support for same sex marriage and other rights for gays and lesbians.
"People who are concerned about equal rights for LGBT people and marriage rights for LGBT people are rebounding in a really wrong and harmful way," she said.
At more states allow same-sex marriage (now totaling 17), some see the push for religious freedom laws as two steps forward and one step back for the gay movement.
When KSHB, a Kansas City news network ran this story, the community reaction was fairly swift in opposition to this legislation. The fact is Missouri is piling in at the end of the train that is marked 'Failure'. When discovered, this legislation has went down in flames with communities and businesses strongly reacting against these kind of proposals.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A bill introduced in the Missouri state senate Tuesday closely resembles controversial bills in Kansas and Arizona now at the center of a national debate over the right of businesses to refuse service, notably to gays and lesbians, based on religious beliefs.What makes this interesting is that Wallingford, a Republican, is seemingly backtracking in an election year in order to appeal to his more tea party members in an election cycle.
State Senator Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau introduced Senate Bill 916 on Tuesday and told the Kansas City Star its purpose was to “protect Missourians from attacks on their religious freedom.”
But gay rights groups were quick to fire back, calling the bill-- like its predecessors in Kansas and Arizona-- a tool for institutionalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians, who they believe would be the primary targets of businesses refusing service.
“If I as a gay man want to go into a restaurant, you shouldn't be able to tell me that I can't go there because of who I go home to at night,” Equality Missouri Campaign Director Caleb-Michael Files said. “Yes, it affects the LGBT community, but it’s a discrimination bill for everybody.”
Wallingford did not return multiple calls to his office requesting comment on the bill.
Wallingford was one of nine senate Republicans who joined with Democrats last year to pass a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's Human Rights Act. State law currently prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender and age, among other categories, but not sexual orientation.Sometimes, you just have to cater to the crazy train. \
That bill died in the closing moments of the 2013 session when the House didn't bring it up for a vote.
Bockelman said Wallingford's bill sets up a situation where one Missouri law says certain people are protected from discrimination while another would essentially allow that discrimination if it were based on religious convictions.
Just a Note - This diary is more sarcastic and fun on this because there is no risk of this legislation going anywhere. Governor Nixon (a democrat) would not go for this, and so the legislation is dead before it starts. What made me diary this was the fact that Republicans flip-flopped from supporting rights for Gays to scrambling to back this bill in order to make sure that their right flank, the tea party stayed with them in an election year. It's a stretch to try and hold onto a base to stay in office and avoid primaries, counting on democrats not showing up.
Still, even doing this makes people realize what crass political anglers they are, and I hope it bites them in the ass in the fall.