Kansas legislators strive to legalize discrimination

Haley Cooper, Sports Editor

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Kansas House of Representatives approved a bill that would prevent private and public employees from being required to “provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits” (House Bill 2453) for same-sex couples. The stated purpose of the bill is to protect the religious liberty of employees.

Individual clerks now have the right to reject serving same sex-couples if it conflicts with the clerk’s religious principles.

For example, if a woman and her girlfriend rely on the city bus for transportation to work, a bus driver can now simply deny them the ability to ride that bus. A professor at a university can refuse to teach partners of the same sex.

Essentially, Kansas legislators are in the process of legalizing discrimination.

There was indeed a time when laws were passed to sanction prejudice. That was in the late 1870’s, when Jim Crow laws were first being enacted. Shouldn’t we have moved past this mindset by 2014?

Another issue I have with bill 2453 is how it singles out only one of the many abominations mentioned in the Bible. According to Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death.” (Deuteronomy 14 also discusses that eating from a pig is an abomination. So is eating shrimp.) Proverbs 23:20-21 says the practice of gluttony is an abomination. Deuteronomy 22:22 says that the cost for committing adultery is death.

Yet, no bills are being discussed to prevent hotel owners from loaning out a room to a woman they think might be cheating on her husband. We haven’t tried to give waiters or waitresses permission to not serve overweight customers because they don’t want to endorse gluttony. The bill only protects religious liberty of employees when it relates to the topic of homosexuality. It specifically targets the rights of same-sex couples. This defines discrimination, and I am mortified that Kansas would attempt to legalize such a thing.

I know that Kansas is a red state. I know that Kansas doesn’t embrace tolerance. But I never thought that we would actually consider legalizing discrimination.