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Religious freedom?
The right to discriminate
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A sign that can be found in some business establishment reads, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
However, it’s illegal to refuse service for reasons that are illegal. Thus, one modern version of the sign reads, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone — Except for blacks and gays and the disabled.”
In the future, Kansans may have more freedom to show their prejudices, in the name of religious freedom. A Kansas House committee on Thursday approved a bill aimed at protecting individuals, groups and businesses that refuse for religious reasons to recognize same-sex unions or provide benefits to gay couples. Now the measure will go to the entire House, according to the Associated Press.
State bills such as this are cropping up after last year’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings, which favored same-sex marriages. This created problems for those who believe homosexuality is an “abomination” in the eyes of God.
Marc D. Stern general counsel of the American Jewish Committee and a contributor to the book, “Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty,” gave this example to CNN: “Must religious colleges provide housing to same-sex couples?” Requiring them to do so, he wrote, infringes on religious liberty.
Stern concludes that religious freedom allows for gay marriages, even if some believe it is wrong, but it does not allow those couples to force dissenting religious organizations to recognize or facilitate their marriages.
Kansas lawmakers must be careful in how they approach this bill, if they feel it is necessary.