As a gay rights activist the only thing I've been a little happy about here lately is some local councils passing non-discrimination clauses, so it's illegal to fire someone or evict them from their apartment just for being gay. Make sense right? Salina is the most recent city to propose one, Lawrence obviously passed theirs years ago. And crazies usually turn out to tell their city councils that they'll be "struck down like Sodom and Gomorrah" if we pass such awful laws, but we're all still standing. (How Lawrence continues to survive is AMAZING, right?)
Oh but wait! Enter the Kansas State legislature.
HB2260 and SB142 are being toted as "religious freedom" acts. They give any citizen the right to sue for injunction, protective orders, damages, court and attorney fees if they feel like their religious freedom is likely to be burdened.
They declare that the government shall not "burden a person's exercise of religion" unless it's for "compelling government interest". And then there's a long interesting list of things that the legislature considers "compelling government interest". The government should protect a parent's right to discipline children as they see fit! The government will not protect a woman's right to end a pregnancy! The government will not limit religious organizations from receiving funding!
The wording of the bill is awful and, I think, intentionally misleading... and I'm not the only one who thinks so, the Kansas Equality Coalition is holding a big rally on April 26th at the capitol. You can read details here or RSVP on facebook.
Then you can write your representatives, or call them up and ask them what they think this bill is all about.
I have religious freedom. What I really want is the government to stop taking my religion from me, pretending that they know what Christians need to do to live Godly lives. I'm trying to love my neighbors, and if I'm lucky enough to live in a town of Kansas that agrees with me, the least we can do is let our government take "interest" in what's fair and admit that gay people deserve more rights than, oh, fetuses.
Now who's being big government, Kansas republicans?