Just months after the state legalized same-sex marriage, Washington state Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) introduced a new bill that would allow businesses to deny service to the LGBTQ community.
According the bill, businesses could refuse service to due to differences over religious or philosophical beliefs. The refusal of service would be legally allowed as long as it does not violate federal law, which does not hold any protection for the gay community.
Brown’s legislation was sparked by the dispute over a florist denying service to a gay couple that was (legally) getting married. The shop’s refusal was due to religious reasons, which Brown is now trying to protect.
In an effort to protect religious differences, Brown is opening up the state’s non-discrimination statute to denial of the LGBTQ community. If passed, it could go as far to potentially allow hotels to deny rooms to gay individuals.