Washington Republicans file bill to legalize discrimination against LGBT people

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A bill filed by a group of 12 Republican state senators in Washington would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious or “philosophical” beliefs.


Earlier this year, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a florist who said that she could not supply flowers for a gay couple’s wedding “because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.”

In response, state Sen. Sharon Brown (R) and 11 other of the 23 Republicans in the Washington state Senate want to legalize discrimination against gay and lesbian couples with Senate Bill 5927. The measure goes far beyond religious exceptions, allowing business to discriminate based on “philosophical beliefs” or even “matters of conscience.”

“The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, philosophical belief, or matter of conscience may not be burdened unless the government proves 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,” the bill states.

Written By: David Edwards
continue to source article at rawstory.com

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  1. I hope they include a clause that makes it possible for businesses to discriminate against all kinds of other groups too, in the name of fairness, such as republicans, vegetarians and neo-impressionists. My deeply held belief that absolutists are sub-human must be respected.

    • In reply to #1 by Aztek:

      I hope they include a clause that makes it possible for businesses to discriminate against all kinds of other groups too, in the name of fairness, such as republicans, vegetarians and neo-impressionists.

      That would be fine as long as they’re not in a protected class (like religion).

    • In reply to #2 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

      I see potential here. Let’s rally the Washington Muslim, atheist and GLBT communities and start enjoying these new rights at the expense of Republicans/theocratic Christians.

      a very odd combination: GLBT, Muslims and Atheists. sexuality lumped in with religion.

      • In reply to #24 by Net:

        a very odd combination: GLBT, Muslims and Atheists. sexuality lumped in with religion…

        Hmm, the common factor was people discriminated against most often by Christian Republicans. They would make for a weird alliance though, I’ll grant you that.

  2. This is yet another example of republicans stirring the pot just like they did in the North Carolina state legislature when they proposed a bill that would establish christianity as the state religion. They know all too well the bill is unconstitutional and that they couldn’t possibly gather enough votes for it to pass but they do it anyway just to “yank on the liberals’ chain”.

  3. These people are not just stirring the pot, they are 100% up front about what they believe and what they would do if they could and they represent too large a constituency to deride as superstitious idiots. They are authoritarian bullies and part of a powerful fascist coalition.

    They have more support, more power and more money than Hitler and the Nazis did when they used anticommunism and what must have been the staged arson of the Reichstag to seize power. They and their fascist allies brought the world to war, death to 2.5% of the world population, and a radical re-alignment of geopolitical power.

    Even if you deem this hyperbole, I think it’s closer to the truth than not. If you consider our position as analogous to the Jews in Germany, that atheists merit the same level of trust as rapists, maybe a serious evaluation of the threat they might pose is due. Thoughts?

  4. Where in the bible did Jesus say anything about gay people, much less it being wicked to sell flowers to them? This is a manufactured justification for petty homophobia. I seem to recall the very opposite. Jesus kept telling people that judging and punishing was God’s job, not yours.

    The bible hates everyone, women, blacks, non-Jews, Philistines, rich people, rebellious slaves… If you allow an exception for gays, you have to allow the others too.

  5. Religiopublicans have been choking on a great big old overripe bunch of sour grapes ever since Washington legalized gay marriage last November. This is just more of their completely unconstitutional “sore loser” tactics. These idiots also never seem to realize that “laws” like this cut both ways. For instance, I could say it’s against my beliefs to treat people who are ideologically opposed to my own views. Are you a Republican anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-choice religionut conservatard Teabaggin’ old white male in need of urgent medical assistance? Tough titty! Find a church and ask them to pray for you!
    Bet that would go over well….

  6. America needs someone like Lord Justice Laws to explain this properly:

    Lord Justice Laws condemned any attempt to protect believers who take a stand on matters of conscience under the law as “irrational” and “capricious”.

    Lord Justice Laws ruled that while everyone had the right to hold religious beliefs, those beliefs themselves had no standing under the law.

    “The promulgation of law for the protection of a position held purely on religious grounds cannot therefore be justified,” he said.

    “It is irrational, as preferring the subjective over the objective. But it is also divisive, capricious and arbitrary.”

    He added: “If they did … our constitution would be on the road to a theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic.”

  7. What is it about religious fanatics that makes them want to draw attention to their stupidity.

    Why do they need special legislation to achieve this?

    The mechanism for discriminating against anyone is already in place, and is already set up in a way which prevents the victim from even knowing they have been discriminated against.

    If someone goes for a job interview, and one of the interviewers decides to discriminate because that person is LGBT (or any other criteria the interviewer dislikes), the interviewer need only say that they felt someone else was better at the interviews and it is impossible for the victim to prove that this isn’t true.

    They can in fact already openly advertise their prejudice and remain within the law. As they claim LGBT is a choice, they can say they felt the victim’s judgement was not of the required standard for the job, and they still don’t need a law to protect them from acting on their prejudices.

    What they really want is the right to rub the victims nose in their disapproval publicly. How very tolerant, forgiving, and un-Christian, Christians can be, and what a great example they make for others. It is unfortunately an example of a negative, of something to avoid emulating, and it tarnishes everyone who sees it and makes life just that little bit more unpleasant for everyone when it is allowed to exist.

    • In reply to #16 by N_Ellis:

      What is it about religious fanatics that makes them want to draw attention to their stupidity.

      Actually, they’re quite subtle in not drawing attention to their crazy beliefs. That’s why they reframe it as though it were cultural discrimination to stop them from following their dictates. It’s a form of doublethink, and unfortunately lots of people buy into it because they know people who are Jewish, Christian, etc. who are perfectly nice people and think “Surely there can’t be something wrong with religious freedom in a multicultural society…” This is one of the reasons why we’re impeded by people who don’t even follow the creeds and yet identify themselves with a religion; because they inadvertently lump themselves in with people who do take the creeds seriously, and thereby handcuff themselves to the problem in the first place.

      • In reply to #23 by Zeuglodon:

        In reply to #16 by N_Ellis:

        What is it about religious fanatics that makes them want to draw attention to their stupidity.

        Actually, they’re quite subtle in not drawing attention to their crazy beliefs. That’s why they reframe it as though it were cultural discrimination to stop them from followin…

        Most of them are subtle about doing so, but the true fanatics define themselves by their irrationality. They are the ones who see their irrationality as a standard others need to comform to, and they are the ones who produce legal measures like this.

        They are also the ones who are destroying religion for the moderates (which plays into the hands of atheists), and who will be the last believers for every religion (which means our final opponents will be the most fanatical, intractable and desperate)

  8. If we passed a similar law saying atheists could discriminate against theists, then they would claim christianity was under attack.

    Suppose I advertise a used car for sale, privately. A muslim man shows up to buy it, bringing along his wife and two female teenagers, all of them wrapped in burkhas. Can I refuse to sell him the car, based on my personal distaste for his treatment of his family ? How would you respond to his female family members saying it was their choice to dress that way ? Arrggh. The plot thickens.

  9. The arrogance of these people truly staggers me. They have never considered the possibility that people might refuse to serve THEM. How would they feel if their trash was left to pile up outside their house, or they could not fill up their car, they could not buy groceries, or they could not get on a flight? Would they be completely philosophical about it and praise the worker or business that refused to serve them and messed up their day?

  10. The measure goes far beyond religious exceptions, allowing business to discriminate based on “philosophical beliefs” or even “matters of conscience.”

    The heads “filled-with-flossical-beliefs” – as an alternative to rational thought and unselfish social responsibility are common in the Republican right!
    Perhaps the bill should have a more realistic title – “Bigotry through business”! –
    Naturally they see themselves as being in charge of these bigoted businesses, and would be the first to scream “RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION!!!”, if anyone in other businesses refused to serve contemptible bigots!

  11. The person who is bringing the law suite certainly has the right to do so but I have to say I really don’t get it. Why would anyone even WANT to use a florist who is a homophobe in the first place? If this happened to me I would just be glad to find out the florist was a bigot so I could give my business to a nice gay florist, its not like they are hard to find.

    It all seems to me to be one aspect of the whiner culture we have now. People look at any little phrase or wrong and can’t wait to make more of it. Its the same reason I find these stupid twitter fights that Richard and Harris are engaging in lately to be so pointless.

  12. Imagine if I went before these douchebags and tried to legalize discrimination against religious people. As an Atheist, my close relationship with reason makes it difficult for me to tolerate the delusional. I don’t feel I should have to employ adults who use faith to make decisions, I require evidence based reasoning. Not a chance. What a bunch.

  13. Earlier this year, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a florist who said that she could not supply flowers for a Republican couple’s wedding “because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.”

    Same thing, basically.

  14. Couple of ideas – first, response to a comment up there – sure, you can discriminate all you want as a private citizen. But, once you act as a business you are, in fact, not acting as a private citizen any more. And there are some constraints on how you are allowed to act because of the new role you’re playing. The State has determined it has an over-riding interest in defining businesses, business activity, and the consuming public, for example. What this proposed legislation does is, unconstitutionally in my opinion, reverse the responsibility and obligations of determining over-riding interest from its current “default condition.” The pseudo-bill would make the State have to prove in each individual case that it had an interest, rather than the current condition that puts that onus on the individuals that want to act contrary to State law.

  15. Dispite talk on these pages of the decline of faith-based politics in the U.S. this article proves that there is still a long way to go before america is rid of this blight on its way of life.

    • In reply to #37 by thebaldgit:

      Despite talk on these pages of the decline of faith-based politics in the U.S. this article proves that there is still a long way to go before america is rid of this blight on its way of life.

      A SE Illinois Rep. was in the area recently to discuss (promote) horizontal fracking. A huge issue with all sorts of implications.

      Next on his list is support for conceal and carry laws, and NO support for same sex-marriage “I stand firm on that”.

      I can’t believe same-sex marriage so concerns him that it ranks number 3. But, as my ma used to say “consider the source”.

  16. “The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, philosophical belief, or matter of conscience may not be burdened unless the government proves 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,”

    The wording of this seems to indemnify a suicide bomber – or even someone who is aware of another’s intention to commit such an offense against prosecution by shifting the onus onto the government to prove that suicide bombing on religious grounds is indeed a crime!

    Weird and scary.

  17. In reply to #25 by Red Dog:

    The person who is bringing the law suit certainly has the right to do so but I have to say I really don’t get it. Why would anyone even WANT to use a florist who is a homophobe in the first place? If this happened to me I would just be glad to find out the florist was a bigot so I could give my bu…

    As it happens, Senator Brown is my state senator (she was appointed last February after her predecessor resigned to take on the role of county commissioner), and I live in the city in which the florist refused the service. The customer was a longtime patron of the florist, and was shocked when she told him that she would sell him flowers in general, but not for his wedding. Coming on the heels of our state recognizing same-sex marriage (and by popular vote, mind you; the first time that has happened in the US), this was a particular act of civil protest against the successful voter initiative.

    The lawsuit was filed by the state attorney general (not by the snubbed patron) to underscore that equal protections under state law extend to sexual orientation.

    Senator Brown is playing to the grandstands, as she should know that this bill will not pass, nor withstand judicial review if it does. (She is a lawyer.)

    What is particularly telling is that the amendment proposed in the bill would allow any business to refuse service or refuse to hire someone based on “…race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability…” provided they held a sincere religious or philosophical conviction against such classes of people.

    It’s rube-bait. Sadly, the local paper carried six or so letters to the editor this morning in strong support of the florist. It would seem that Senator Brown knows very well that the vocal members of the populace in her district support such bigotry.

    She will be hearing from me about her waste of my tax dollars and hateful grandstanding, but it annoys the daylights out of me that I have to tell my government officials not to refocus discussion to such idiocy rather than address issues of actual import, such as the huge deficit our state faces.

  18. In no way does this represent what America is meant to be. A truly telling thing it is in respect to how much work is ahead of us if America is ever to fulfill its promise of “Liberty and Justice for ALL”.

  19. It makes you wonder how the US ever abolished slavery and race discrimination given that the dominant religion allows for it? How much longer can the Ku Klux Klan be bullied out of exercising it’s inalienable rights?

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