After promising 2017 would be the “Year of the Bible,” Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and his Republican henchmen in the state legislature just passed an awful new “religious freedom” bill that allows students to discriminate against their LGBTQ classmates on religious grounds. And it all started after some uppity parents took offense with a Bible verse being cut from a school production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
SB17 was signed into law this week and is specifically designed to protect Christian, er, religious expression in public schools. One of its provisions allows publicly-funded student groups to discriminate against potential members because Jesus is Lord. The bill reads:
No recognized religious or political student organization is hindered or discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs, selection of leaders and members, defining of doctrines and principles, and resolving of organizational disputes in the furtherance of its mission, or in its determination that only persons committed to its mission should conduct these activities.
So basically, it’s now legal for any student group in Kentucky to ban gay students from participating in their activities. All they have to do is claim by that student’s mere existence goes against their religious beliefs and they’re legally in the clear.
Naturally, LGBTQ activists aren’t happy about all this.
“Governor Bevin’s shameful decision to sign this discriminatory bill into law jeopardizes non-discrimination policies at public high schools, colleges, and universities,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the LGBTQ advocacy group HRC. “No student should fear being excluded from a school club or participating in a school activity because they are LGBTQ. While of course private groups should have the freedom to express religious viewpoints, they should not be able to unfairly discriminate with taxpayer funds.”