A group of Republican legislators in the state of Washington are trying to pass a law that would explicitly allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, all in the name of “sincerely held” religious beliefs. As if the sincerity of a belief is relevant at all.
Washington state Sen. Sharon Brown and 11 other Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians based on a business owner’s “sincerely held” religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs or “matters of conscience.” The measure would also undermine current state anti-discrimination law.
Senate Bill 5927 would not allow businesses to deny services to people based on race, religion, disability or other protected classes under federal law; but being gay or transgender is not a protected class, so discriminating against them is fair game, according to the bill:
The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, philosophical belief, or matter of conscience may not be burdened unless the government proves that it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest.
Brown defended the measure as “protection” for people and religious organizations “burdened” by, it seems, the very existence of gay people: “There’s a glaring lack of protection for religion in state law,” she told the Associated Press.
So why can’t they discriminate if they have a “sincerely held religious belief” that black people are cursed by God? Or if they have a “sincerely held religious belief” that women should not work and therefore they shouldn’t have to hire women? I mean, if it’s all about religious freedom, why do they demand favor only for their religious beliefs and not for others?
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