From The Wichita Eagle:
The Kansas House will move forward with a bill that would give government employees the right to refuse service to same-sex couples on the basis of their religious beliefs.
…The bill was drafted in reaction to federal court rulings overturning same-sex marriage bans in other states, said Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, the committee’s chairman.
…If the bill becomes law, public and private employees alike could refuse service to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs concerning marriage. Because religion is a protected status, the employer could not terminate the employee for this refusal. The law would also shield private businesses from discrimination lawsuits.
A provision requires government agencies to still provide the requested service, but individual clerks could object to signing a marriage license, for example. Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, introduced an amendment, which passed, that would exempt private businesses from the same legal obligation.
We’ll admit, we got excited while reading this story because we thought Rep. Couture-Lovelady would obviously be on our side. Alas, he is not. He’s one of the bad guys. What a waste of a great name.
This proposal was meant to prevent private businesses from being forced to serve customers when they don’t want to do so, i.e., a baker who makes wedding cakes wouldn’t be forced to make a wedding cake for a same-gender wedding ceremony. Yes, the Kansas government debated the legal and moral implications of wedding cake. Why is everyone obsessed with wedding cake?
Then it morphed into “protecting” government employees from being forced to do things that go against their religious beliefs. Although as a public employee publicly serving the public, with public money paying your public salary, that ALWAYS has been, is, and will be a component of the job. Imagine if the clerks at the DMV wouldn’t have to serve people they don’t like. They don’t like anybody. But we’ll let that go for now.
There is this pesky document called the U.S. Constitution, which spells out the framework for the way our country runs. Article VI, referred to as The Supremacy Clause, states “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” In other words, if states have laws that go against federal laws, the federal laws always win. Too bad, Kansas.
There’s also the 14th Amendment, which says no state will make a law to “…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Seriously, people, this is from middle school civics class. Of course this law won’t last. Nevertheless, Kansas lawmakers are grandstanding for their own benefit to show their constituents how hard they tried to fight against “gay marriage” (we really need to stop using that phrase, it’s just marriage!) in the hopes that they’ll get elected again. That, and wasting what could be millions of dollars in legal fees when The Great State of Kansas is dragged through the courts, fighting this nonsense.
Supporters of the law cite religious freedom, which is also part of The Constitution, and say a person shouldn’t be forced to perform actions that are against his/her beliefs. There are laws where this religious freedom prevails. For instance, if doctors and nurses are asked to perform an abortion for a pregnant woman, but they object to abortion based on moral grounds, then they often have the right to not perform the procedure.
However, if a county clerk needs to sign a document, and s/he is the only person in that office who can sign the document, but s/he refuses to do so, then that screws up the legal process. We can’t have that. Although the differences lie in a gray area. Hence the legal drama.
If enacted, and it probably will be, this law will wind through the courts for a long time until it is eventually struck down. Although in the meantime, it will undoubtedly cause drama for Kansas citizens who are denied public services. And cake. They will be denied cake!
Click your heels Dorothy! Click your heels!
When will religious zealots understand that they can’t subject everyone else to their 3,000 year old nonsense? By their own beliefs, they should be able to discriminate against African Americans because the bible very clearly approves of slavery. Jesus even said slaves should obey their masters, even the ones that beat them.
How about refusing service to someone who cuts their hair and shaves their beard? How about serving a woman during her unclean menstrual cycle? Where do you idiots draw the line?????
Pshaw. All it’ll take is an atheist to refuse to serve a bible carrying family after church and that law is done for. These idiots simply do not honestly know what they’re doing.
And just watch the freak-out when some govt. employee doesn’t allow a Catholic couple to get married because they are Baptist and claim it’s a religious belief that Catholics shouldn’t get married.
Kansas: The New Mississippi
Why would anyone even want to spend their money on a homophobic company?
The United States Constitution is a wonderful document. However, it is just a document. There are countless examples of times that it has been completely ignored. Unless you think Obama is going to go Kansas to right the wrongs of this bill, you can pretty much ignore the constitution on this one. Kansas is going to do what it will and the United States government will do absolutely nothing about it. This is a battle that is going to be fought in Kansas not the United States Supreme Court.
@tdx3fan: nope. ACLU or some other awesome group will file a federal lawsuit and get the law overturned.
First group that does gets a check from me.
The Mormon “religion” (LDS Church) is based on the idea that non-whites are the race of the devil. It is a core belief of Mormonism. It is not surprising the party of Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney would support a law that gives Mormons and the KKK (another relgious organization) the power to discriminate against non-whites. How appalling. I guess the Republicans don’t want the votes of any non-white people.
Towards the end of last year, the Mormon church inferred that they had given in to the eventual allowance of gay marriage across the United States. However, under the leadership of one of their apostles, Dallin Oaks, the Mormon church has taken a different direction fighting for what they believe is their religious rights to discriminate. There is a concerted effort to join with other groups to influence legislatures around the country to support discrimination by businesses and churches against gays. So ironic that the Mormon church that was hated and discriminated against so much for over a 100 years is now wanting allowance to discriminate against others. Some would call that hypocrisy.
Look I am not for this law, but think about it. If they can discriminate against LGBTQ, so can people who are LGBTQ too. SO if you are a Doctor, Nurse, certified nursing assistant, or ambulance driver and you recognize the person as one of those born again _fill in the blank_ that means under this law you can let the _fill in the blank_ bleed out, stroke out, choke to death, or what ever do to your religion too. Just give them the Darwin Award for their religion of hate. Again I don’t believe this way, but what I said exemplifies the golden rule: Do unto others as you would want to be done to you. So if they don’t want to give you a cup of water, then you should not be required to give them a Cup of Water either- How mighty white ‘Jesus’ of them.
@tdx3fan: Don’t count on it! Every State that has brought this ridiculous law into being has had to eat crow in the aftermath! Kansas will be no different! I live here and people are fed up enough with the Kommandant government in power right now. I can’t wait for the elections of 2014-2016!
The ultra republican, Christian state are NOT!! welcome in Tucson.
I don’t believe any of this. It has to be satire. C’mon: Travis Couture-Lovelady! That’s a drag queen name if I ever heard one.
@tdx3fan: Why don’t you tell us again how anti-gay discrimination doesn’t exist out in the hinterlands?
Caleb in SC
One person’s constitutional rights end where another’s begin. The GOP has forgotten that.
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