Georgia, Missouri Latest To Push ‘Hate The Gays’ Laws
You can’t help but think the campaign for ludicrous and hateful anti-gay legislation in Arizona must be contagious:
Add Missouri to the list of states where GOP lawmakers have introduced “religious freedom” legislation, which gay rights advocates warn would lead to discrimination against LGBT residents. The Kansas City Star reported that State Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R) filed the bill Monday.
As in Arizona, which has spurred a national debate with its bill, the bill would require that the government have a compelling interest before interfering with a person’s exercise of their religion. The practical impact, according to gay rights advocates, is that anti-gay discrimination would be legitimized.
Wallingford acknowledged that his legislation was intended to protect people and businesses who wish to discriminate against LGBT people, giving the examples of a florist or baker who refused to provide their services in same-sex weddings.
“This is trying to provide a defense in those types of instances,” he said. “We’re trying to protect Missourians from attacks on their religious freedom.”
And Missouri isn’t alone:
A bill moving swiftly through the Georgia House of Representatives would allow business owners who believe homosexuality is a sin to openly discriminate against gay Americans by denying them employment or banning them from restaurants and hotels.
The proposal, dubbed the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, would allow any individual or for-profit company to ignore Georgia laws—including anti-discrimination and civil rights laws—that “indirectly constrain” exercise of religion. Atlanta, for example, prohibits discrimination against LGBT residents seeking housing, employment, and public accommodations. But the state bill could trump Atlanta’s protections.
The Georgia bill, which was introduced last week and was scheduled to be heard in subcommittee Monday afternoon, was sponsored by six state representatives (some of them Democrats). A similar bill has been introduced in the state Senate.