OK Has a Real ‘Right to Discriminate’ Law

I’ve seen a lot of laws described as “right to discriminate laws,” but most of them are just normal RFRA laws, for which there is no history of ever being used to exempt anyone from discrimination laws. But Oklahoma is considering a bill that they call a RFRA law that truly is a right to discriminate law.

The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015 goes much further than the federal RFRA or any state version of RFRA. It says that any business can discriminate against not only LGBT people but women as well. The bill provides that “no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex, gender or sexual orientation.” Which means that it not only allows discrimination against gay people (which was already allowed, actually, because sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are not covered under the state’s anti-discrimination laws as it is), but they could refuse to hire or serve women as well. Among the things that a business, individual, non-profit or any government agency can refuse to do under this law for both gay people and women:

Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges

Provide counseling, adoption, foster care, and other social services

Provide employment or employment benefits

But the sponsor of the bill says it’s really about the gays. He doesn’t think gay people have any right to be served by any business. But don’t worry, he has a lot of gay friends, so that makes it okay:

State Senator Joseph Silk (R) is sponsoring the “Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015,” which would protect businesses — religious or secular — from lawsuits for discriminating against customers who offend their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”…

“The L.G.B.T. movement is the main thing, the primary thing that’s going to be challenging religious liberties and the freedom to live out religious convictions,” Silk explained before adding, “And I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”

Silk explained that members of the LGBT movement need to be sensitive to the rights of religious business owners, which trump their rights as consumers and citizens.

“They don’t have a right to be served in every single store,” he said. “People need to have the ability to refuse service if its violates their religious convictions.”

So why not remove religion from the statutes too? Why not let Muslim-owned businesses refuse to do business with Christians or Jews? I mean, if you really mean this — which, of course, you don’t. You only mean that gay people should be discriminated against because it’s against your religious beliefs. Because you’re a bigot.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • llewelly

    “And I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”

    Republican thinking: Even if you are my friend, I’ll happily throw you under the bus for purely political reasons.

  • ed440

    As soon as they can show an objective, independent method to prove their sincerely held beliefs then we can talk.

  • raven

    …against because it’s against your religious beliefs. Because you’re a bigot.

    Not even that. A cafeteria xian. And a bigot.

    The magic book, bible, spends less than a page on gays. They are right up there with adulterers, blasphemers, nonvirgin brides, disobedient children, atheists, heretics, and witches.

    You notice that the GOP/christofascists don’t spend a lot of time hating on adulterers, liars, haters, nonvirgin brides, and so on. If they did, they wouldn’t have any friends and most likely would end up…hating themselves!!!

  • Chiroptera

    ed440, #2:

    Unfortunately, didn’t Scalie in the Hobby Lobby case say that it isn’t for the courts to decide when someone’s beliefs are sincere?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    OK Has a Real ‘Right to Discriminate’ Law Bill

    With any luck – and more exposure like this – that’s as far as this will go.

  • raven

    All xians are cafeteria xians. Hypocrisy is a sacred duty of fundies.

    In both Luke and Matthew, god himself says, “judge not lest you be judged.” somewhere else it says, “Vengeance is mine”, mine being god’s.

    These Oklahoma xians could just let their god deal with the gays. God could do it. After all, it is his job and god can do anything, being all powerful.

    Yeah, I know. The bible is a giant Rorschach Inkblot that says whatever anyone wants it to say. It has nothing worthwhile to say to modern people.

    PS I doubt if most fundie xians really give much of a hoot about gays. It’s just a hate target. Fundie xian hate is its own reward. No Hate = No Fundie Xianity

  • Childermass

    The shit just hit the fan in Oklahoma:

    “♫ There will never be a n***** at ΣΑΕ ♪ You can hang ’em from a tree, but it will never start with me ♪ There will never be a n***** at ΣΑΕ ♫”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O79I9GoLe0

  • John Pieret

    They don’t have a right to be served in every single store,” he said. “People need to have the ability to refuse service if its violates their religious convictions.

    Then why do you want to make your law apply to any individual or religious entity? I could have a certain sympathy for exempting a business that had to attend and directly participate in a wedding ceremony, such as a wedding photographer, but your law makes it possible for every single store to discriminate against LGBT people for no other reason than their religion doesn’t like gays.

    But thanks for letting everyone know that your intended target is LGBT people (even if you are too stupid to avoid including women as well) because it this passes, it will make it so much easier for the courts to overturn.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    So how are businesses owners to know which potential customers and employees are gay?

    Maybe some are apparently obvious. But what about gay guys who are not color coordinated? They may come in some mom-and-pop Oklahoma hardware store and be allowed to purchase a hammer. A hammer, for gawd’s sake!

    There needs to be some kind of detector machine or test or something to ensure that hard-to-spot gay men aren’t buying goods and services or getting jobs that come with employer-covered health insurance.

  • Callinectes

    Does anyone seriously believe that these people have any gay friends at all?

  • Larry

    So how are businesses owners to know which potential customers and employees are gay?

    Easy. Make them wear a yellow Star of Davidscarlet G, for gay, or, A, for slutty women. Something like that has been done before. I just can’t remember where

  • Sastra

    Callinectes #10 wrote:

    Does anyone seriously believe that these people have any gay friends at all?

    They might — because people are people and will often excuse or overlook flaws (real or imagined) in someone if there’s something else which is seen as more important. Life is complicated.

    And — because people are people — I’m going to guess that there are gay people out there who make a show of being “sensitive” to the religious feelings of other people and accept this bill for the same reason that there are atheists out there who make a show of being sensitive to religious sensibilities and accept “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, “In God We Trust” as the U.S. motto, and even Bible study in public schools. These are the godless folks who crow about Tolerance and proudly join hands with a prayer circle, convinced that they’re modeling good manners, common sense, and a middle ground which accepts and celebrates diversity!!1!1!!!

    Might there be LGBT individuals who eschew the ‘rude and shrill’ LGBT movement and blithely reassure their Christian friends that they’d only WANT to do business with businesses who want to do business with them? Probably. Even someone in a minority can live in an insulated rose-colored bubble and think their minority status is “no big deal” because they know how to go along to get along. Religious privilege is widespread.

    Plus the internet has taught me to be especially cautious about assuming people are going to be consistent.

  • Loqi

    @Larry

    I propose a slight alteration to your scarlet letter policy. Make businesses state clearly on storefronts, in advertising, etc. exactly who they don’t serve. It will save businesses all that hassle of having to confront the undesirables because only the people who think exactly like the owners will enter the business. Isn’t the Invisible Hand wonderful?

  • Akira MacKenzie

    If this is what he want’s to do with his friends, I’d hate to see what Silk does to his enemies.

  • Synfandel

    It says that any business can discriminate against not only LGBT people but women as well.

    Or men.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    “And I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”

    In other words, he’s willing to strip even his friends of their basic human rights. That says a lot about him.

    If this is what he want’s to do with his friends, I’d hate to see what Silk does to his enemies.

    I get a feeling it depends on how powerful those enemies are. The most powerful ones he sucks up to and tries to befriend, the less powerful he’ll screw whenever it’s convenient. I’m sure people like him care more about strong vs. weak than they do about friends vs. enemies.

  • John Pieret

    loqi:

    You can just have businesses willing to serve LGBT people put up stickers that say “We don’t discriminate. If you’re buying, we’re selling,” as some did in Mississippi after its RFRA law went into effect. I drove the Religious Right nuts:

    Buddy Smith, executive vice president of Tupelo-based American Family Association, offers his take on the sticker campaign.

    “It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign,” he says, “and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture.

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/business/2014/04/28/miss-businesses-stick-it-to-religious-freedom#.VP3zuELwvIV

  • Synfandel

    John Pieret, I think Buddy Smith and the American Family Association just earned a Bryan Fischer award.

    Smith offers a word of caution for those who do business with facilities posting the decal supporting homosexual activism. “If you do that, you are agreeing with these businesses that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience,” he tells OneNewsNow.

    So, according to the AFA, if you fail to discriminate against people the AFA dislikes, you are trampling on the religious freedom of the bigots who do discriminate against people the AFA dislikes. Their religious freedom necessitates your being precisely the same type of bigot as they are. Wow!

  • John Pieret

    When I blogged about this last year, I put it this way:

    Wow! So much stupid in so small a space! Someone tramples the religious freedom of Christians by refusing to discriminate against gays? It’s almost as if they are claiming it’s their religious right to control everyone else’s religious beliefs.

    And they are being silenced because other people speak up in favor of the rights of gays? It’s almost as if they think no one else has freedom of speech.

    And agreeing to serve same-sex couples means that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience. It’s almost like the only way that Christians can have religious freedom is if nobody else has any.

    What they really fear, of course, is the change in public opinion, even among their fellow Christians, and that this campaign will show them up for what they are: hate-filled bigots.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    J.P. @ 17

    From the link: “Smith offers a word of caution for those who do business with facilities posting the decal supporting homosexual activism.”

    Smith is a fucking bully who pretends he has an all-powerful supernatural bully backing him up.

    John, I ran a small retail business years ago, and I plastered a big rainbow sticker on the kiosk. That worked. Took a little time for word to get out, then it made money. Making money: the point of being in business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.pilger Robin Pilger

    Larry says (@11)

    Make them wear a yellow Star of Davidscarlet G, for gay….

    You may want to looking the history of the pink triangle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.pilger Robin Pilger

    s/looking/look into/

  • caseloweraz

    Buddy Smith (per #17): “It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign,” he says, “and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture.

    This is truly remarkable*. Not only do these Xtians think they should have the right to refuse service to certain types of people, but they also contend that allowing other businesses to deal with those types will somehow trample the freedom of Xtians to live by the principles they choose.

    The conclusion is inescapable: these Xtians (not all Christians, to be clear) insist that they should have the right to dictate how everyone else lives.

    *Remarkably stupid.