UPDATE: The Senate Republicans in Kansas decided to shut this shit down. According to the Wichita Eagle, State Senate President Susan Wagle said at a news conference on Friday, Feb. 14:
“I believe that when you hire police officers or a fireman that they have no choice in who they serve. They serve anyone who’s vulnerable, any age, any race, any sexual orientation. Public service needs to remain public service for the entire public”
Finally! I know we’ve all been feeling really bad for all the gay marriage-opposing Christians lately. It’s a tough path to walk, the whole “relentlessly fighting to suppress the rights of others for the continuation of a white, hetero, patriarchal political agenda masked as a warped ideology loosely based on oft-rewritten religious text” thing. So thank god that lawmakers in Kansas have finally decided to stand up for the real victims: Straight Conservatives in a Conservative state.
*Sarcasm over. “I hate this world” face on.*
A new bill, which passed the Kansas House of Representatives on Feb. 12, effectively paints gay marriage-opposed Christians as victims of discrimination and uses that victimized image as a basis for outlining their protections from the big, bad, threatening gays.
To be even clearer: This bill gives people the legal right to refuse service to gay people for “religious reasons”. It’s literally state-sanctioned discrimination against gay people. If that sounds super fucking Jim Crow-ish to you, you’re not wrong. That’s pretty much what it is. The bill would allow for this even if the state’s current ban on same-sex marriage gets stricken down, meaning that eventually gay marriage could theoretically be legal in Kansas one day, but it will also be legal for bigots to treat them like shit and prohibit their access to an endless number of establishments and even public services.
In real life terms: If you and your same-sex partner wanted to go out to dinner and the owner didn’t like gay folks, he could legally refuse to serve you. If you wanted to pump gas, or buy groceries, or go to a movie, or do anything, you would run the risk of being refused.
And it’s not just privately-owned businesses who fall under “protection” of this law; Government-run entities like state hospitals and public parks would also have the ability to deny service to gay people. It’s as bad as it sounds. The bill, in no uncertain terms, establishes second-class citizenship for gay people, and empowers anti-gay persons to discriminate at will.
The bill’s main backer, Charles Macheers, had this to say in its defense:
“Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful … It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill. There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield of protection for that.”
Again, so there’s no confusion about who this bill identifies as the discriminated against parties, this dude is referring to gay marriage opposers. What in all the fucks.
Side note: If you want to tell Mr. Macheers what you think of his anti-gay bill, here is his home phone number and email address: 913-396-9662, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clearly, even in extra red Kansas, there has been backlash. I mean, duh. Even still, as of now, with the bill about to go up for vote in the Kansas State Senate, it looks likely to pass.
If you want to express your opposition to the bill
Here are the phone numbers and email addresses of everyone in the Kansas Senate. Send them an email, or call, and tell them how you feel.