Kentucky Bill Would Allow Discrimination Based on ‘Sincerely Held’ Religious Beliefs

Human rights groups in Kentucky are fighting a proposed bill that would allow people to sidestep anti-discrimination laws if they could justify their actions with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

House Bill 279, sponsored by conservative Democrat Rep. Bob Damron and recently passed in the State Senate, would strengthen a person’s ability to “ignore state regulations or laws that contradict his or her ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs.” Gay rights groups say this could legalize discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of certain religious beliefs that maintain homosexuality is wrong:

The Kentucky Equality Federation sent a letter to Beshear before the Senate vote, urging the two-term Democratic governor to veto the measure.

House Bill 279 represents a clear and present danger to the gay and lesbian community and other minority groups around the commonwealth,” the letter said. “House Bill 279 does nothing more than give people permission to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, thereby taking it beyond ‘freedom of religion’ to ‘forced religion,’ because they have imposed their religious beliefs on others, with legal authority to do so.”

Only four Kentucky cities have enacted ordinances that protect LGBT people from discrimination; no such protections are in place at the statewide or nationwide level. This would make it even easier for conservative Christians to completely ignore what little protections do prevent LGBT people from discrimination.

Carolyn Miller-Cooper, executive director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, said her agency “supports religious freedom but is concerned about the overly broad language of HB 279.”

The bill, she said, could allow someone to deny certain types of people access to public facilities, employment opportunities or housing if that denial is “based upon a sincerely held religious belief.”

Gov. Steve Beshear

What Gov. Steve Beshear will do with the bill (sign it, veto it, or ignore it) is still unknown. As of Friday, he had not yet made a decision. Apparently, 12 states have approved similar laws — in other words, there are 12 states I will try never to visit in my lifetime. Religious freedom will never justify taking away civil rights, and it’s abhorrent that elected officials don’t realize it.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    This is truly disgusting. Camille, it would be great if you provided a list or link to a list of the twelve states that already have such laws. These things need to be publicized to the point that they become common knowledge; sunlight being the best antiseptic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cberedjick Camille Beredjick

      I totally agree with you, though I don’t have the list myself; I was citing the original linked article. But I’m absolutely looking into it now.

  • TicklishMeerkat

    It’s so repellent that some people’s imagined “religious freedom” depends on taking other people’s real civil liberties away.

    • Rwlawoffice

      That “imagined religious freedom” is in the First Amendment.

      • GCT

        You’re going to have to show me where the First Amendment allows for one’s religious freedom to take away the civil rights of others.

        • Rwlawoffice

          The FIrst Amendment allows for the free exercise of religion. What civil liberties are you claiming are being taken away by that?

          • GCT

            The First Amendment does not allow for the free exercise of religion when that free exercise impinges on the rights of others. One is not allowed to claim free exercise in order to engage in discriminatory behavior. For instance, one can not claim free exercise in order to exclude serving blacks at a restaurant.

            Your rights end at the point where they interfere with my rights. You have the right to free exercise, just as people have the right to be bigots, but they do not have the right to take away the rights of others or to enforce their religious sensibilities on those around them.

            • Rwlawoffice

              Not true. Religious liberties are protected even if those liberties interfere with other people’s rights. Any attempt to limit the free exercise of religion will be balanced against the state interest for doing so and interfering with others rights is just part of the balancing. It is not an absolute.

              • GCT

                If you think that’s true, try to murder someone and claim that your religion told you to do so…although you might get an insanity plea…

                You don’t have the religious liberty to discriminate. You can’t open a restaurant and exclude Jews, Muslims, blacks, or anyone else based on your religious liberties. You don’t have the religious liberty to assault others. You don’t have the religious liberty to take over the public square. Etc. etc. etc. You are simply wrong in claiming that your religious liberty is allowed to take away my civil rights. If you believe that you do have that right, then please cite some examples.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Look at the Supreme Court case of hosanna tabor v eeoc. The court ruled that churches did not have to follow the anti discrimination laws in hiring ministers. This is one example.

                • GCT

                  So, that’s your example? That churches of denomination X don’t have to hire people who aren’t part of the denomination for their ministers? Really? That’s a case of hiring a qualified person for the job. It has nothing to do with whether your religious freedom impinges upon my rights. Try again.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  Total fail. I was interested in hearing these examples as well.
                  Pity you couldn’t come up with any. It almost seems like you’re doing nothing but puffing hot air.

      • Carmelita Spats

        Which is why Mormons should be allowed to discriminate against Native Americans and blacks since their skin color is a curse from gawd as per the Mormon Holy Book and who the hell is BIG GUMMIT to deny Mormons their “religious freedom” when it comes to racial discrimination? What? You don’t know the verses in the Holy Book of Mormon? Here, let me help you.

        1Nephi 12:22-23

        And the angel said unto me:
        Behold these shall dwindle in unbelief.

        12:23 And it came to pass that I
        beheld, after they had dwindled in
        unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a
        filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

        • Rwlawoffice

          So do you deny that the First Amendment allows for the free exercise of religion? Of course the Supreme court has placed some limits on that, but to say it is imaginary is nonsense.

          • blasphemous_kansan

            Really?

            Do you really think when ticklish said “imagined” above, that he/she was implying that the concept of religious freedom is imaginary, and does not actually exist? Doesn’t it make more sense that “imagined” instead was referencing when some people “imagine” that their religious freedoms include legislating a class of people as sub-human?

            Man, you guys really do see persecution wherever you go. What a sad day that everyday must be for you.

            • Rwlawoffice

              That was the word that was used. How ironic that you accuse Christians of perceiving persecution when their faith is being attacked, yet you claim that protecting a sincerely held religious belief automatically renders another group of people sub human.

              • GCT

                Reading comprehension may not be your strong suit it appears. The obvious implication of the original comment was the “religious freedom” that is imagined to allow for Xians (in this country especially) to be held above all others and allow Xians to treat all others as second class citizens (or at least force the government to do so).

                It is not an attack on Xianity to hold them to the same rules as everyone else. Xians should not get special benefits and when the playing field is leveled it is neither an attack nor persecution. And, yes, when Xians are allowed to have special benefits and exercise those in a way that creates second-class citizens, then it is like rendering another group of people as sub-human. Yet, it is the Xians seeking to do this to others and wailing and crying about their “religious freedom” to be bigots and claiming persecution when they don’t get their way. Why would you fight so hard to maintain an ability to be a bigot?

                • rwlawoffice

                  It certainly is an attack on religious liberty. If I believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, I should not be forced, through alleged discrimination towards people, to treat if it isn’t. Discrimination laws are being used across the country to force people do behave in ways that violate their religious conscience. You see it in cases involving bakers, photographers or counselors for example who have been harmed or sued for standing up for their religious beliefs.

                  This is not an attempt to level the playing field, it is an attempt to force religious people to view this behavior as morally equivalent.

                • Kengi

                  How can any law “force” you to “view” something in a particular way? Does the government have mind control chairs they will sit you in to alter your thoughts?

                  You are confusing a stipulation to provide equal service when operating a public accommodation with Jedi mind control. Hint: Jedi mind control is fiction.

                  Did you miss that whole civil rights era thing? You can think whatever you like, and you can discriminate in church however you want, but you must not discriminate when providing a public accommodation.

                • GCT

                  Kengi said basically what I was going to say.

                  I will add this though: again I find myself wondering why you are fighting so hard in order to protect your supposed right to discriminate against others? Why do you think that you have the right to treat others as second-class citizens, and why are you fighting so hard for that ability?

                • Rwlawoffice

                  To both GCT and Kengi- it is not fighting for the right to discriminate against people, it’s the right to follow my faith and not be forced to behave as if some behaviors that go against my religion are moral and thus would go against those beliefs. For example like a Quaker objecting to military service on religious grounds

                • GCT

                  You’re free to be bigoted against gays. No one is saying differently. What you are asking for here, however, is the ability to for people to legally discriminate against gays.

                • TheBlackCat13

                  @Rwlawoffice: How is that different from discriminating against people? Just because it is discrimination based on religion does not make it any less discrimination.

              • blasphemous_kansan

                >>”That was the word that was used.”

                Oh my, you are a clever troll. So you admit the word was used, and you also admit it was being used in a context of which you chose to remain willfully ignorant? I’m interpreting your above sentence as an admission of your dishonesty and word-twisting. If you weren’t trying to be dishonest or obfuscating by harping about the word choice of ‘imagined’, then the reading comprehension fail is also yours to own. Either way, you’ve admitted that the original premise for your original rant was faulty, and I’m guessing that you knew it. Troll fail.

                >>”How ironic that you accuse Christians of perceiving persecution when their faith is being attacked,”

                LOL!! Ok, I’m sorry, but this is too funny. Your actual FAITH is being attacked? Like, by gays asking for equal rights, your actual conception of faith in a supreme being is attacked? I’m sorry, but if this ‘faith’ shit that you keep spewing about can be so horribly tainted by people asking to be treated like people, then it seems to be some weak stuff, and not worth defending. You seem to be frustrated because you find your faith to be indefensible in the 21st century, and maybe that’s because it’s not worth defending. Perhaps you meant something else by ‘faith’, but hey, that was the word that was used, right?

                >>” yet you claim that protecting a sincerely held religious belief automatically renders another group of people sub human.”

                Do you know what ‘irony’ means? I saw nothing ironic in my post in the context of the article.
                Here’s the summary, correct me if I’m wrong:Christians want the right to discriminate certain people. Pushback against this pre-civil rights mindset is perceived as Christians being persecuted by those like you who want to discriminate against undesirables. This ridiculous frame of mind could be called many things, “facepalm” comes to mind, but not irony.

                Welcome to the 21st century. Please pass go, collect $200, and a clue.
                Looks like today will be another sad day in Fundie-persecution land.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  The context of the use of the word was imagined in an attempt to show that the right to religious liberty does not exist so my comment was correct. If you want to expand the comment made to say that what was meant was that it is imagined that religious liberty cannot invade on the civil rights of others than my comment is also correct. Either way there is nothing imagined about the right to religious liberty that exists in the First Amendment.

                  Yes my faith is being attacked. Because faith is more than simply thoughts and more than worship on Sunday, it’s exercised in life. And the belief is not that other people should be treated as unequal, that is how the LBGT community wishes to couch it but its false. The bible does not teach that homosexual people are any more of a sinner than the rest of us and it teaches equality ( before you laugh at that study it and you will see its true). What it does teach is that homosexual behavior, just like premarital sex is a sin and immoral. And you would be a fool to argue that the agenda of the LBGT community is anything less than to have people believe that there is moral equivalence, not just acceptance. The goal and the attacks are designed to have Christians be forced to accept this behavior as moral. If they behave as if it is not, they are punished.

                  So your summary is wrong and is the example of the irony that I was referring to- Christians are not asking for anything that we aren’t already guaranteed in the Constitution, the right to freely exercise our religion. That is actively being attacked and cases around the country are testament to it.

                • GCT

                  No one claimed that religious liberty does not exist, that’s reading comprehension fail on your part. The correct interpretation is the one where religious liberty cannot invade on the civil rights of others, and you are wrong on that score as well. You can’t legally discriminate against blacks and claim religious freedom, for example.

                  Yes, your hateful faith is being attacked, and why shouldn’t it be? Your faith is hateful and bigoted, and it is about treating people unequally. Even if it weren’t, it’s still a hateful sentiment to claim that all people are horrible and deserving of hell. And, no, the Bible does not teach equality unless you mean that all people are deserving of hell. The Bible is quite clearly misogynistic, for example.

                  No one is trying to force you to see homosexuality as moral. We are saying that you can’t legally discriminate against them, no matter how fervently you believe in your bigoted religious ideas. And, claiming religious freedom is no excuse for practicing discrimination.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  The bible does teach equality in the context of there being no slave or master, no men or women, we are all equal before God. When it talks about homosexuality, it does so in the context of talking about behavior. It is the LBGT community that turns that into bring called subhuman.

                  And you are simply wrong that the agenda is not to make Christians view homosexual behavior as morally equivalent. You need to read some of the other posters here that argue that very thing. You should also read some of the teachings that are being given to children in public schools that go against the Christian faith, yet the parents are not allowed to excuse their children.

                • GCT

                  Sorry, but your characterization of the Bible is incorrect and is a modern invention in order to make it appear as if the Bible aligns more closely with our modern morality than it really does. In the Bible women are the property of their men, slavery is not only permitted but commanded in some cases, and being gay is called an abomination. And, if you are going to call them abominations, seek to grant them inferior civil rights, discriminate against them, and deny them the chance to seek a loving relationship with another person, then you are treating them as subhuman.

                  “And you are simply wrong that the agenda is not to make Christians view homosexual behavior as morally equivalent.”

                  The “agenda” (if there is such a thing) is to gain equal rights for gays. It would be nice, however, if Xians would stop seeing gays as abominations, evil, worthy of discrimination, etc. and would come to the moral position that gays are people too.

                  And, as for teachings that go against the Xian faith, you are outright declaring that the Xian faith is bigoted, and trying to defend it, while acting hurt that people are trying to teach tolerance for others. Is it really that harmful for you to have tolerance towards others? Does it injure you in any way what two adults choose to do behind closed doors? If you can point out some actual harm that results from gays being given equal rights, then I’ll give you a cookie. Until then, your protestations are nothing more than you whining because it’s no longer cool to be a bigot.

                  But, hey, you could prove me wrong by actually giving some examples that actually back up your charges. What specific comments are claiming that anyone is trying to make Xians do anything? Please be specific. What teachings are being given to children that upset you so much? Please be specific.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  I love it when an atheist that has rejected the Bible try’s to tell me what it stands for and what it says. Your interpretation is simply wrong. Christians who used the bible to condone slavery were wrong. Christians who used it to deny civil rights to blacks because of the color of there skin were wrong. Christians who use it to discriminate against homosexuals as people for that status are wrong. But it is not wrong to say that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is wrong. Just like it says premarital sex is wrong or adultery is wrong. So if I tell people I am opposed to adultery as being immoral, am I a bigot against those that commit adultery?

                  Do you honestly try to contend that there is not an agenda to make everyone believe that homosexual behavior is morally equivalent? It hurts your credibility to do so.

                  People here argue just as you have seen on this thread that my civil rights end when yours begin. If that is than the harm that is causing these types of bills to pass is the infringement on religious liberty that I am guaranteed in the constitution. It’s not that gays getting equal rights that is the harm in itself, it is the intentional lack of protection for religious rights in the process. As an example, Catholic charities may be forced to leave Colorado and gave shut down in other states because of their religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman and they will not based upon their religious convictions adopt a baby to a same sex couple. When they ask for an accommodation they are denied so they are forced to shut down. There are other agencies where this is not a problem and same sex couples have no problem adopting babies. But you applaud this idea that the Catholic Church should be forced to give up the religious beliefs that you don’t agree with.

                  Another example is the counselor who was dismissed from school for referring a person seeking counseling for a same sex relationship when she could not condone that relationship and give her proper counseling without violating her relgious principles. The person was referred to another counselor and in ten minutes received counseling which she says was great. Yet a complaint was filed and the student counselor was kicked out of school for refusing to go through training where she ok’d be told to affirm same sex relationships even if it went against her religious beliefs.

                  The teachings to children are those in kindergarten and elementary school that portrays same sex relationships as equal to those between a man and a women. It shows these relationships as morally equivalent. School districts refuse to allow Christian patents do excuse their children from these teachings even though it goes against their religious beliefs.

                • GCT

                  Rejection doesn’t mean that I don’t have reading comprehension skills. In fact, part of the reason I reject the Bible is because it is immoral.

                  “Christians who used the bible to condone slavery were wrong.”

                  Based on what? The Bible sets up a system of slavery.

                  “Christians who used it to deny civil rights to blacks because of the color of there skin were wrong.”

                  How so? They would claim that you are wrong.

                  “Christians who use it to discriminate against homosexuals as people for that status are wrong.”

                  Then you are wrong, because you seem to be fighting for the ability to discriminate against homosexuals.

                  “But it is not wrong to say that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is wrong.”

                  It is not wrong, which is one reason why the Bible is immoral. What makes homosexual behavior wrong? It is an activity between two consenting adults that harms no one. Yet, you believe you have the moral standing to claim that it is wrong?

                  “So if I tell people I am opposed to adultery as being immoral, am I a bigot against those that commit adultery?”

                  Adulterers are not a protected class of people and are not born as adulterers. Plus, adultery (defined as cheating on a spouse) generally does harm others. Being gay does not harm anyone.

                  “Do you honestly try to contend that there is not an agenda to make everyone believe that homosexual behavior is morally equivalent? It hurts your credibility to do so.”

                  No one is trying to make you believe anything. Like I said, it would be good for you to see homosexuals are people too, but I can’t force it upon you.

                  “People here argue just as you have seen on this thread that my civil rights end when yours begin. If that is than the harm that is causing these types of bills to pass is the infringement on religious liberty that I am guaranteed in the constitution.”

                  There is no harm to you in allowing others to have equal rights.

                  “It’s not that gays getting equal rights that is the harm in itself, it is the intentional lack of protection for religious rights in the process.”

                  But, your complaint of “religious rights” is your supposed intent to have the right to discriminate, which goes against the idea that gays would have equal rights. Again, your religious rights end where the civil rights of other start. It’s not an infringement of your rights to disallow you from controlling the rights of others, since you never had that right to begin with.

                  “As an example, Catholic charities may be forced to leave Colorado and gave shut down in other states because of their religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman and they will not based upon their religious convictions adopt a baby to a same sex couple.”

                  No one is forcing them to shut down or leave. They are being forced to not discriminate. IOW, your complaint is that you want the religious freedom to discriminate against others, which would be a violation of the idea of equal rights and the idea that your rights end where the rights of others begin.

                  “But you applaud this idea that the Catholic Church should be forced to give up the religious beliefs that you don’t agree with.”

                  Wrong. I applaud the idea that they will not be granted special privileges that allow them to disregard the law. I applaud the idea that they will not be allowed to discriminate and force their religion on all others. I even applaud their decision to shut down in a sense because it clearly shows their bigotry. It is simply not true, however, that they are being forced to do anything except comply with the law. No one is forcing them to give up any beliefs.

                  “Another example is the counselor who was dismissed from school for referring a person seeking counseling for a same sex relationship when she could not condone that relationship and give her proper counseling without violating her relgious principles.”

                  IOW, a professional decided to discriminate against someone in an illegal way and was let go from their job? Oh, the horror. Again, people do not have the right to discriminate against others by claiming religious freedom, especially not professional people employed by a secular government.

                  “The teachings to children are those in kindergarten and elementary school that portrays same sex relationships as equal to those between a man and a women.”

                  They are equal. Oh the horror, children are being taught equality, tolerance, and fact. Sorry, but I don’t see why Xians should be given preferential treatment on this issue either.

                • rwlawoffice

                  Your entire post proves my point. You see nothing immoral with homosexuality. Others don’t share that belief. Yet any attempt by those people to live their beliefs, such as the Catholic church adoption agencies, you view as discrimination. You think that they should not have the right to live their lives or run their businesses in line with their religious beliefs but according to your beliefs. And you call that tolerance

                  As for the children, they are not being taught about equality and tolerance. They are being taught the agenda of the groups such as Gay lesbian Straight Education Network that doesn’t simply teach tolerance. You should read some of the materials for yourself.

                  For your information I do view homosexuals as people. I view them the same as everyone else. Like those that commit adultery or have sex outside of marriage, it is the behavior that is immoral, not the person themselves. It is the homosexual community that wants to view this as an attack on them as people.

                • GCT

                  “You see nothing immoral with homosexuality.”

                  No, I don’t, because there is nothing immoral about it, and I note that you’ve failed to point out what it is that is immoral about it. What is immoral, however, is the idea that you can enforce your religious opinions on all those around you and that it gives you legal justification to discriminate against others.

                  “Yet any attempt by those people to live their beliefs, such as the Catholic church adoption agencies, you view as discrimination.”

                  Because that’s exactly what it is. Catholic church adoption agencies are refusing to offer a public service to a protected class of people. That’s the textbook definition of discrimination.

                  “You think that they should not have the right to live their lives or run their businesses in line with their religious beliefs but according to your beliefs. And you call that tolerance”

                  No, actually I call their actions intolerant. The plain fact is that people don’t have the right to “run their businesses in line with their religious beliefs” when their religious beliefs call for discrimination. Are restaurant owners allowed to refuse to serve gays? If you think so, then explain why they shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to serve blacks. It’s the same thing. Do you think people have a right to claim religious freedom in obviously racist discrimination? If not, then why are you claiming that you have that right when it comes to homophobic discrimination?

                  “As for the children, they are not being taught about equality and tolerance. They are being taught the agenda of the groups such as Gay lesbian Straight Education Network that doesn’t simply teach tolerance.”

                  Actually, they are being taught about equality and tolerance as that’s what the GLSEN’s agenda is; to educate children to be tolerant and value equality. That you can’t formulate an objection that doesn’t rely upon your personal ick factor and your evident bigotry against gays doesn’t mean that they are at fault or have some nefarious purpose in mind.

                  “For your information I do view homosexuals as people.”

                  I submit to you that you are not being honest with either me, yourself, or both. You can’t claim to view them as people while simultaneously telling us all that it’s OK to discriminate against them and that they should be discriminated against.

                  “Like those that commit adultery or have sex outside of marriage, it is the behavior that is immoral, not the person themselves. It is the homosexual community that wants to view this as an attack on them as people.”

                  Because it is an attack. I don’t see anyone claiming that adulterers should have diminished civil rights. Do you? Yet, here you are fighting for the ability to diminish the civil rights of gays and discriminate against them. Don’t claim that you treat them equally and then argue your hardest for why you should be allowed to treat them like sub-human second class citizens.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  I think a basic lesson about burden of proof is in order: You are making the claim that the homosexual position is not morally equivalent, it is up to you to provide the proof for that statement. Of course, the proof will have to exist in a way that would be appreciated by secular law, so waving around your old book won’t help. Maybe some evidence of harm that is done to secular society by homosexual equality? To date, this proof has never been exposed.

                  >>” it is the behavior that is immoral, not the person themselves.”

                  Prove it. That’s all that is needed. No one has been able to do it yet.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  >>”The context of the use of the word was imagined in an attempt to show that the right to religious liberty does not exist so my comment was correct. ”

                  Hmm, except NO IT FREAKING WASN’T!! Reading comprehension fail. Persecution complex approaching level 10. Seriously, you are completely, obviously 100% incorrect in your blowup over the word “imagined’, as has explicitly been outlined in two of my comment responses now. Your inability to grasp context is not my fault, so everything in your first paragraph is completely incorrect.

                  >>”Either way there is nothing imagined about the right to religious liberty that exists in the First Amendment.”

                  Where did anyone argue this? Please show me. You’ve been wrong up until this point, so please, show me another double down.

                  >>”Yes my faith is being attacked. Because faith is more than simply thoughts and more than worship on Sunday, it’s exercised in life.”

                  Oh, so you meant something more than just the literal definition of ‘faith’, huh? Hey pal, maybe you should have used a different word than ‘faith’ to describe all that wishy washy bullshit. I’m just using the words you provided me, and I’m taking the same liberties with your word choice as you did with Ticklish’s original comment (literal and pedantic, with no regard for context). It doesn’t seem like you are having much fun with it. Now why could that be? Maybe because it’s the debating tactic of a dishonest shit?

                  Regarding the rest of your tripe in paragraph 2, there’s nothing in there of interest to me. I’ve read the Bible, I don’t think it says what you think it does, and neither do about 1 billion of your fellow faithful. It certainly doesn’t say that everyone is “equal”. When you are done describing it, your faith comes off sounding very small and sad. You are not a very good spokesperson for ‘faith’.

                  I think it goes without saying that I think your last paragraph is complete bullshit, and not just based on the lack of evidence for your claims. Your persecution complex is just so, so sad. I’m curious, are you for or against the Civil Rights Act of the 60′s? Why or why not? I think the answer to this question will determine whether you are worth engaging with in the future on any topic.

                  Your fundamental failure is that you view people seeking equal rights as an attack on your faith.
                  You are wrong. That is all.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  I’m disappointed in your comment. You try to make an impassioned argument over my alleged misunderstanding of the use of the word impossible, yet when we get to the meat of my argument you bail. I’m not surprised.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  What, exactly, are you talking about? And your comprehension failure wasn’t over the word ‘impossible’ it was over ‘imaginary’. Do try to keep up, ok? there was no ‘meat’ to your argument. I’ve addressed everything you’ve said that was relevant (the relevance factor was less and less as you dove deeper into that awful old book of yours).

                  I’m actually disappointed in your comment as well, as it actually appears that you are the one who is ‘bailing’, and you are the one who is ending this discourse. How did you come to the conclusion that I was ‘bailing’ in my last comment? Was it when I asked you more questions and requested detailed feedback? That’s funny criteria for ‘bailing’. Your projection of your insecurity onto me is the final hilarity.

                  I’m interpreting your retreat to mean that you agree that you misunderstood the word ‘imaginary’, and have been pedantically trolling this entire time.

          • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

            People have lots of rights other than first Amendment. There are the other amendments too. The right of anyone to swing their fist in the air ends when it impacts my nose because now they’ve entered my space and impacted me. Net there are 2 sides, and the “rights” will end up getting argued in court. I personally believe that any opportunity to discriminate given to those in Kentucky will be used and abused to the fullest by enough people to cause issues for the less than 10% of non-white demographic and LGBT community. jmo

      • coyotenose

        And once again, the bigot comes in to prove he’s on the side of discrimination. Thanks, I’d almost forgotten that there was someone here who silently, obsessively pours over every post and comment in desperate search of an ambiguous sentence so he can crow about how his intentionally dishonest interpretations somehow make anyone but himself look bad.

        • Rwlawoffice

          Thank you for adding to the discussion with nothing but an attempt at an insult.

  • Pepe

    There are democrats who bring up such bills too? I thought it was a completely Republican thing to do.

  • Kengi

    I thought we solved crap like this in 1878 when Reynolds v. United States was decided. Religious beliefs don’t trump the civil rights of others, nor secular laws which have been established for the good of the community.

    Geez, I wish US legislatures knew one iota about the constitution of the United States.

    • Baby_Raptor

      That only matters if the religious beliefs in question aren’t a view held by the Religious Right.

    • Stev84

      Back then “freedom of religion” still meant only that the government won’t punish you simply for holding a certain belief. Like Catholics were persecuted in Protestant countries. Or Protestants in Catholic countries. Or Quakers in many early American colonies.

      Not anymore. These days it means the freedom to do whatever the fuck you want and ignore any law you don’t like.

  • Pureone

    They would change their tune if they realized they are paving the way for sharia law.

    • SeekerLancer

      No they wouldn’t, because they’re only against the idea of such a law when a Muslim word is being used to describe it.

      Considering this vaguely worded law could be used to discriminate against different anyone I don’t see it holding up in court.

      • Pureone

        Lolz, got me there….

    • ganner918

      Just wait til a Muslim owned business refuses to allow women into the store, or at least ban them from the store unless their face is covered.

      • Stev84

        Ultra-Orthodox Jews would love the same. They are already enforcing such rules in neighborhoods they took over.

    • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

      Sharia law? It is Kentucky. Try to find a temple there. Ha:) I was thinking more along the lines of paving the way for Wiccans or KKK ceremony. The KKK were in the news again last year at a gas station along the interstate in costume talking to customers looking for new members. Broad daylight. No shame. That and eliminating contraception in Kentucky. There are about 5 hospitals in Northern Kentucky all controlled by the Catholic church because they were allowed to take over St. Luke, the last one they didn’t have. They do not provide contraceptive procedures. To be clear, I’m not talking about abortion which isn’t available. I’m talking about tubal ligation and vasectomy no longer being available. Have to go to Cincinnati now for contraceptive procedures.

  • Jon Peterson

    So who’s down to move to Kentucky and broadly discriminate against the religious based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” that they’re wrong and therefore don’t have any rights? -_-

    I’m not actually proposing this, because we should be better than that… but it’s certainly the first thing that comes to mind.

  • ggsillars

    So, if you have a sincere religious belief that nonwhite people are inferior, or have the mark of Satan, you can discriminate against them? Oh yeah, that would fly.

  • Rain

    “Sincerely held” might actually be a fallacy that is so bad that nobody ever gave it a fallacy name. That’s pretty bad. I would hereby dub it the “sincere held” fallacy, except it’s so ridiculous that it doesn’t even deserve its own fallacy.

    • Stev84

      It’s a ridiculous phrase. As if it makes a difference how sincerely you believe in made up nonsense.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Theocratic fascists I get. Your god tells you to blow up followers of every other god, you obey because you think your god is real and everyone else’s isn’t and thus your moral calling is higher than all others, the hell with who is a majority or a minority.
    Democratic theocrats are just funny. They’re so clueless that they think the majority still agrees with them.

  • Greg G.

    They want to allow religious people to break the law. Will they allow a person to hijack a plane and fly it into a building if they are religious enough?

  • Darek

    What if my sincerely held belief is that all religions are BS? Am I allowed to fire a christian simply because of his religion, or does my belief not count because I don’t belong to a state approved, mainstream religion?

    • TheBlackCat13

      I think you meant “the state approved, mainstream religion”

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    What if Mormons want to discriminate against blacks and American Indians because Mormon scripture says that dark skin is a curse from God upon the evil ones?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      Or the Christian Identity movement. They have “sincerely held” religious beliefs about the inferiority of non-white people.

  • dcl3500

    If this law were challenged and taken to SCOTUS it would surely be overturned as unconstitutional. Right?

    • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

      Hard to say. Sexual orientation isn’t a protected class statewide, hence it’s already legal to discriminate in most places in Kentucky. I don’t know how the bill’s language treats the exceptions.

      • dcl3500

        I guess the way I figure it, they will be able to discriminate against me and mine that are atheist as well, and since the LBGT crowd gets left out in the cold, they can at least hang onto the shirttails of us atheists and I have no problem with them hanging onto the shirttails if it helps protect them.

        • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

          Neither do I. Incidentally, atheism is a protected class, subsumed under religion for the purposes of constitutional rights.

          • dcl3500

            But, if they are allowed to discriminate because of a deeply held religious belief, then they will, according to my understanding of the law, will be able to discriminate against, well basically anything they want, not that I believe it will hold up in SCOTUS.

            • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

              The article mentions state laws only, presumably ones that expand the number of protected classes. Trying an end-run around federally protected classes is a total non-starter; even faith-blind theocrat legislators know that’s basic governance.

              • dcl3500

                I have a lot of faith in the inability of blind faith theocrats to not understand or care about anything that doesn’t follow their particular flavor of beliefs… ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Blake/100002401936958 Chris Blake

      When we hear how they decide on DOMA, that should give some angle on how they’d rule if a challenge to this went all the way there and they took it up.

      Difference being DOMA is a national law, as opposed to a state law, and that could give them wiggle room, but the basic principle of whether or not LGBT as a class can be legally discriminated against or gets protections would apply against the Kentucky law.

    • Stev84

      SCOTUS has greatly expanded the rights of religious organizations in recent years. But so far they stopped short of extending the right to discriminate to any random people. It’s hard to say given how conservative the current court is though.

  • Mario Strada

    Laws like this one are illogical. Who is going to judge how sincere someone beliefs are? It’s impossible. It should be struck down on that alone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

      Exactly. That’s the way they like things, so none in that state will strike it down. It is intentionally that way so they can pick and choose who is sincere and who is not. Allows huge discretion and puts it right into the hands of the judge who will be tight with the prosecutor and they get to decide where a law was actually broken and who to prosecute. I don’t know much about other states, but saw enough when I lived in KY to know there are 2 groups of people, those for whom the law is applied and those for whom it isn’t. For example, one guy I know had about $30,000 in property stolen from his house. He found out who had it and let police know. The police did nothing. He was so upset. But you see, the police didn’t like him so didn’t care to catch that particular felon who took his things. The things that go on there are just unbelievable. Heck almost forgot the guy who assaulted my sons with a tire iron (felony assaults) is supposed to get sentenced in 4 days. I’m waiting to see if they give him a love tap vs. a real jail sentence. He is a felon been to jail multiple times, but police don’t like my son so a different set of rules applies;-) Oh, the stories I could tell about KY lol:)

    • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

      Oh, and more reasons I think my example will likely get a love tap is that his head is shaved almost buzzed so he looks like a skinhead. Large stocky guy and white of course. Throw in a little KKK affiliation or some masonic temple perhaps and somehow their sentences are never as heavy and infractions are viewed more favorably. Wasn’t it just couple years ago that 2 LGBT women were leaving a bar in Covington and got assaulted by a white supremacist male? Now, he did get thrown back in but shouldn’t have been out in the first place. He had prior convictions of killing his stepfather and another for being in a group assault on a black boy with other men having bats marked “Imperial Clans of America.” I don’t know what this religion law is about nor what they are up to there, but probably it won’t make things better for the majority living there. No more excuses for discrimination are needed.

  • John Gills

    This is Great! I sincerely believe there are people who should be punched in the nose!

    • Pattrsn

      But in a nice way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aura.breeze.9 Aura Breeze

    For Camille Beredjick: Your article mentions that similar laws exist in 12 other states – I’m very interested/anxious in knowing which ones. Can you post the list? Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/cberedjick Camille Beredjick

      I’m actually not sure — I was citing the original article I linked to. But I’m looking into it now, because I’m just as curious as you!

      • http://www.facebook.com/aura.breeze.9 Aura Breeze

        Thank you – I live a very repressed red state – I fear that I’m in one of them… :-(

  • Alawon.B

    suppose I should develop a sincere religious belief that I should ransack the houses of rich people in search for high-class chocolate bars?!?! ‘Cause that’s totally do-able and I’m quite adamant.

  • Steve

    Fortunate to live in the UK despite this Conservative led government, religion is a person’s own choice. This guy is a Democrat?!!!

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    It’s against my religiously held beliefs to drive on the right side of the road. Where is my exemption? It’s against my beliefs to pay state taxes. Can I get out of that as well?

  • observer

    And yet, if LGBTs ask for a bill where they don’t have to take up this crap, all of the sudden they’re the one’s asking for “special privileges”.

  • Tak

    This is disgusting! Bet they’d change their tune if someone refused to provide services to Christians based on sincerely held religious beliefs.

    • TheBlackCat13

      But that’s the (evil) brilliance of this bill. Under federal law, religion is a “protected class”, so they can’t be discriminated against. Only those classes that are not protected by federal law, i.e. gays, are under threat from this law. That way they can freely discriminate against gays all they want, without having to outright say that is their intent or risk any discrimination against themselves.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        Except that this legislation violates all of the protected classes, because it is so broadly written (see the examples others have given here). More importantly: the idea of ‘protected class’ is to prevent someone from being discriminated against, right? It isn’t to be used to justify discrimination. So they have it exactly backwards.

  • JustSayin’

    A friend sent me this. I thinks it fits quite nicely with the content of Camille’s post.

    • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

      Wow he is good at pointing at the obvious! Makes very good points.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I found myself in need of Plan B earlier this week. I was expecting a massive amount of stress trying to get it, because Arkansas has one of those “conscience protection” laws for people who “sincerely believe” that birth control=abortion.

    Luckily, I didn’t get much more than a cold shoulder. But Fucking seriously…When is the party of “personal responsibility” going to start taking it themselves? If your job, or your current situation, or whatever, runs contrary to your beliefs, it’s YOUR responsibility to fix it.It’s not the person who happens to be targeted by your issues who needs to get kicked so you can be comfortable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

      I can’t follow your post. Could you explain the first paragraph? What is a Plan B? I’m interested because religious beliefs took away the availability of contraceptive procedures like tubal ligation and vasectomy at hospitals in Northern Kentucky last year. I was appalled that the general public can’t go have these procedures done at the hospitals there anymore. WOW talk about letting “religious” beliefs infringe upon the rights of others. I was like WOW this isn’t abortion, which I can see people having strong opinions on, it is a person killing their tube that transfers an unfertilized egg!!! Or killing sperm count! Nope, no longer available at hospitals there. Someone is trying to enforce their beliefs that we should all have a large number of children upon the general population by removing what have been common procedures for at least 30 years. I thought we had already answered that question, but apparently not.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Sorry, I got back to this late.

        Plan B is emergency contraception. It’s a pill that can be taken within 72 hours of sex or sexual assault where protection wasn’t used, or a condom broke, ETC. It’s something that a lot of religious people take big, fake moral stands on because it supposedly is abortion (It’s not-it works by preventing ovulation).

  • Pain.Strumpet

    Every time I hear about an exemption sought based on “sincerely held” religious beliefs, I wonder what they mean. “Sincerely” held, as opposed to what?

    Then I realized that what these people fear is that two men might get married not for love or commitment, but to get marriage benefits. It’s not a “sincerely” held relationship, like those of a Family Values ™ Republican who’ll marry and divorce five or six times.

    When they want exemptions for “sincerely held” beliefs, what they’re saying is that the rest of us are merely professing beliefs. They’re accusing the rest of us of lying.

    They’re doing it sincerely, too.

  • Randomfactor

    But of course my sincerely-held belief that Christians should be discriminated against would NEVER stand up to scrutiny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cberedjick Camille Beredjick

    For all those who are curious, according to the conservative homeschooling association HSLDA (http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000083.asp ), the 12 states with similar laws are: AL, AZ, CT, FL, ID, IL, NM, OK, PA, RI, SC, TX. But I’m not certain about the credibility of the source (and the list was last updated in 2003), so this is one I’ll keep researching. Thanks to all who asked about it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lou.parelobinske Lou Pare-Lobinske

      Thank you for doing the research. I’m sorry that my state is on that list, but that’s not your fault. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

      Thanks for the list. I was wondering:) But now I’m curious as to why the homeschoolers association cares. Does this law help protect the right to home school? Is that what this is about? If so, then I’m for that but why not make things plain rather than so obscure that it could be about anything and interpreted in any way?

  • NickDB

    Fairly easy to counter, especially if they start quoting the verse they use to condemn homosexuality

    “So you believe that homosexuals are against God?

    “Yes!”

    Why?

    “Leviticus 18″

    Ok, but leviticus 19 says this

    “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
    “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”
    “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
    “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”

    So I see you have no beard and cut your hair wrongly, wearing 2 types of cloth, don’t say the same about people with tattoos and are trying to pervert justice, hence you cannot argue that your belief about homosexuality is sincere

  • Randay

    Theoretically, this would allow rape, torture, and murder if the reason you did it was a seriously held religious belief. Of course some religious people already do this by denying medical care for their children or doing exorcisms.

  • http://profiles.google.com/brotheratombombofmoderation Steve Caldwell

    “conservative Democrat Rep. Bob Damron” … I wonder if anyone here has seen his address book:

    http://www.mkelgbthist.org/media/guides/damron.htm

  • Chris Kilroy

    This is a horrible legal precedent to set. This goes far beyond simple civil liberties for LGBT people. The language in this bill is wide open. Essentially, anyone can choose to do anything or not do anything in the name of religious freedom, and the burden is now on the state to prove that there is a compelling interest to override said interest. This can apply to denial of medical care to anyone in any circumstance – contraception sure but also parents not taking care of sick kids. How about parents who beat their kids as the LORD hath commanded? The state better prove that God didn’t tell them to do so. This is crazy.

  • Salvador_Dalai_Llama

    Well, the Unitarian Universalists are about to have our annual convention in Louisville in June. Kentucky better get ready for several thousand people who believe in equality and non-discrimination as a “sincerely held religious belief.”

  • ImRike

    I just don’t get it. Nowhere in the bible does it say that christians have to discriminate against gays (other than stone them to death?). What the bible says is for them not to have gay sex. So why is it never enough for them to just do what the book says: Don’t have gay sex!

    And neither does the bible say that you have to vividly imagine a man or woman having gay sex just because they are gay. Do they think about sex every time they see a straight person? Is sex the only thing christians can think about?

  • Simplynotred

    In other-words you do not believe in the 1st Amendment, the right of freedom of speech. That current anti-discrimination laws (such as the ones in Germany, where you cannot freely express you opinion because your opinion may be illegal is what Gays promote. If Gays promote the removal of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, then they still have the right to say, I don’t believe or even leave the location of those who believe that Gays are sinful people. However, because one person believes that someones opinion should be against the law, is now becoming dangerous for everyone everywhere. It seems to me that freedom should be paramount. If a religious believer actively believes that Gays are Sinners and can that Gays should be publicly condemned as such, it should be a person’s First Amendment Right to be able to say what they believe, without any interference from any law.

    • TheBlackCat13

      That’s a flat-out lie. No one here is proposing that people shouldn’t be able to criticize gays. We are saying people shouldn’t be allowed to refuse gays seating at a restaurant, for example.

      There it’s a huge difference between outlawing words or opinions and outlawing actions. People here are only talking about outlawing actions.

      Please point out where anyone here had advocated outlawing words or outlawing opinions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.bumpass.5 Linda Bumpass

    Call me dense, but could someone please explain how the exact language of the bill contained entirely in this one paragraph below sparks off such a controversy? I don’t see how the bill will help freedom of religion either because the government’s clear and convincing evidence that it has a compelling interest will be easy to come by when they want something. Just who is this law going to help? Looks good on paper. In practice, how is it the big deal people are making it out to be? Does this enable the Catholic hospital to continue taking over all area hospitals in Northern Kentucky and end contraceptive procedures? You have to cross state lines into Cincinnati now to get a tubal ligation or vasectomy. Is that what this “protecting religious freedom” law is about?

    AN ACT relating to construction of the law.

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the
    Commonwealth of Kentucky:

    âSECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS
    CHAPTER 446 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    Government shall not substantially burden a person’s freedom of
    religion. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a
    sincerely held religious belief may not be substantially burdened unless the
    government proves by clear and convincing evidence 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. A “burden”
    shall include indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing
    penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.

  • muggi

    There was an article in this mornings paper about this; apparently the city of Covington is fearful that this law will undo all of their hard fought anti discrimination practices and were urging residents to write to the governor to veto this. It seems that garden clubs and many other diverse groups have taken an active position against this bill and the conservative Enquire printed it! I wrote the governor this morning after reading the article, hopefully others will write also, at last a small step to rational thought.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X