Filed under Staff Editorials

 Whose House Is It?

Staff Editorial

Donovan Elrod

Last week, the Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill that would have not only encouraged discrimination against homosexuals, but would have legalized it.

House Bill 2453, passed 72-49, was called the “Religious Liberty Bill,” but it really aimed at taking away the rights of gay Kansans by sanctioning discrimination. The bill stated that, “No individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender: provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.”

In America, this kind of discrimination has not been legal since the hard-fought Civil Rights movement. It’s no secret that Kansas isn’t exactly Greenwich Village, but even this bit of proposed legislation was enough to shock the state.

House Bill 2453 was stopped dead in its tracks, due to a national wave of criticism. The Kansas Senate made it clear that the bill wasn’t good for Kansas because it wasn’t good for business, and that it would never become law. But how dumb do they think we are? We know that it’s not because of businesses that the bill was suddenly overturned. Who knows what would have happened if the nation would not have cried out in opposition?

Although now the bill is considered “dead,” it shouldn’t have gotten as far as it did in the first place. Just because the bill doesn’t use the word “gay” doesn’t mean it is any less anti-gay. We wish our lawmakers would say what they mean, instead of using overly-broad language in hopes that we wouldn’t notice.

We seem to be moving backward in terms of equal rights. We fought this battle over 50 years ago with Civil Rights, and it seems that this issue of discrimination keeps cropping up again and again. If you have any doubts about how unfair this kind of law really would be, just replace “sex or gender” with “color.”

Kansas has become a banana republic of a state where basic human rights are endangered. Who are these representatives who claim to represent us? How could 72 of them vote in favor of this bill? Proposed laws like House Bill 2453 are offensive, no matter what your sexual or religious orientation.

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