On the Kansas and Arizona "religious freedom" gay discrimination laws
Posted on 2014-02-23 21:37:00
Tags: essay gay
What with the Kansas Legislature passing a bill providing for "religious freedom" by allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people (although the bill didn't pass the state Senate), and then with the Arizona legislature passing a similar bill and sending it to the governor (it is unclear whether she will sign it or not), it got me thinking a bit.
I think I'm actually OK with letting people that would be directly participating in a same-sex ceremony (like, say, a photographer) choose to not be hired. It feels weird to compel people to be a part of such a personal ceremony when they wouldn't want to be there. (and would you really want to hire a photographer who didn't want to be there?) But the further away you get from "individual person" (i.e. hiring an agency to send a photographer) and "same-sex ceremony" (i.e. serving a gay couple at a restaurant), I quickly get less OK with things. And both of these bills had very broad language.
In general, I think if you're at work you don't really have a right not to be offended. If you work at a restaurant, your job is to serve people, regardless of if you disapprove of them. And don't even get me started on "religious freedom" of businesses, which sounds about as absurd to me as "free speech rights" of businesses (read: ability to donate unlimited money to politics). If you're a bona fide religious organization, then you can discriminate all you want, but other than that your business doesn't have a religion.
Apparently the Kansas version may have just been a political ploy with no intention of passing? Weird.
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