Monday, March 16, 2015

'Religious liberty' supporters don't want to own their bigotry

For all of their talk about religious liberty and wanting the right not to serve lgbt customers, some folks don't want to own their bigotry:

An attempt to pass a law in Oklahoma that would allow businesses to refuse certain services to LGBT people has stalled, and it could be partly due to an amendment introduced by an opponent to the bill.
Earlier this year, Republican state Rep. Chuck Strohm introduced his ‘Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act’ (HB1371). If passed, this would allow businesses to deny services to customers if they felt that such services were ‘against the person’s religious beliefs’. The bill was aiming to allow businesses such as cake makers and florists the freedom to decline providing services for same-sex weddings.

Describing herself as ‘adamantly opposed’ to the proposed legislation is Emily Virgin  a Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. This week, Virgin introduced an amendment to the bill. In brief, the amendment stated that if you were planning on refusing to serve LGBT people on religious grounds, then you must display a public notice to this effect. ‘Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible to the public in all places of business, including websites,’ said the amendment. ‘The notice may refer to the person’s religious beliefs, but shall state specifically which couples the business does not serve by referring to a refusal based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or race.’ On her Facebook page, Virgin explained the reasoning behind the amendment. ‘This would save same-sex couples the trouble and embarrassment of going into that business just to be turned away.’

 . . .  ‘If you want to discriminate under this law if it passes, then you’re legally allowed to do that, but you need to own it. You need to fess up to it,’ Rep. Virgin told Yesterday, it was announced that the bill has stalled. House leadership did not take up the proposal for discussion. For it to return to the House, it would need to be added to another bill, but Virgin has indicated that if that happens, she would act again. 

I personally like the idea. If you don't want to serve potential lgbt customers, there should be a way for us to know it beforehand so as to not waste our time. The irony is that for all of their talk about the willingness to lose their businesses for their moral beliefs, my guess is that a lot of these businesses would object for the specific reason that they would lose business.

Discrimination of any kind is a bad practice not only to lgbts but also heterosexuals and announcing that you would engage in the act wouldn't make you a hero in the eyes of many in the public.

But it would awaken their righteous indignation.


Shannon Spencer Fox said...

I can't help but admit this is hilarious to see, since I also saw this coming, if not just general outrage from the usual suspects... much like the push to provide the names on the Proposition 8 petition in California, and the matching one out in Maine. (Speaking of which, whatever happened with those lawsuits?)

But, yes, this is a pretty obvious 'cake/eating' scenario, since all these businesses chomping at the bit to be able to discriminate knows if they have to advertise their bigotry, they'll lose business from more than just those filthy gays, but our allies as well, and likely normal people who would dislike dealing with bigots in general.

(On a related note, that's always something I've wondered: is it that hard to just make up an excuse like 'we're booked solid' when it comes to these jobs they don't want to do? I mean, it couldn't be some kind of need to proselytize to people about about their beliefs... right?)

BJohnM said...

I've always wondered that myself Shannon...about excuses. Apparently they are just so proud of the reasons they're doing it, they can't help themselves...this comes from that holier-than-thou attitude of so many of them.

But then, as noted here, when they're asked to have to post it, or own their signature or their financial contribution to the wider community, it becomes a whole new issue. Back in the day, businesses didn't have any problem putting up "No Coloreds" signs, and the like. But even to today, there's still race-based discrimination of all types, but since it's illegal, it is carried out in nondescript ways like you mention..."Oh, I'm sorry, were already booked that day." Those same folks, who probably later brag to certain friends that they just don't like doing X for x-race people wouldn't dream of putting it up on a sign in their business, because they know the majority of Americans now know how wrong it is. So, they're coming to realize there are real and broad consequences to their business if they advertise their bigotry towards LGBT people.