HB 2453, the so-called Religious Freedom bill, would encourage discrimination against gays. Well, that's what the media says it does, anyway.
In truth, HB 2453, defends the religious liberty of Kansas employees from being forced by the government to perform any service in support of same-sex marriage.
What it does not do is allow people to discriminate against gays.
Here is what the bill says, something you won't find in mainstream media outlets:
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 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" [emphasis added]The bill is to address the rash of lawsuits that have swept the nation that are forcing business owners to photograph or bake cakes for same-sex marriages.
Why is that a problem? It's simple, liberty. No business should be compelled to do business with any customer they do not want to do business with, period. The business is their property and they should be free to make any stupid decision they want with their property.
For those who don't support the idea that people should be allowed to choose who they sell their services to, the choice is simple. Do business elsewhere. If enough people feel the same way, those discriminating businesses will go out of business or be forced to change their views.
Even better, if there aren't enough businesses that will serve same-sex weddings, than start your own. Fill the whole in the market and make yourself wealthy at the same time. Entrepreneurship is the grand solution to almost any societal issue. See a need, fill it.
And let's face it. If the government can force a photographer to take pictures of a gay wedding against their religious belief and they can force a baker to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding against their belief's, than is it really so far fetched to believe they could make a pastor perform a gay wedding ceremony against his or to force a church to hold a same-sex wedding against their's?
Now, before you start saying, "well, this bill would allow public workers to not provide services to people and our tax dollar pay their salaries," let me say I agree with you. The government should not be allowed to deny any legal service to anyone. Fortunately, the Kansas legislature and the author of HB 2453 agrees with us.
I give you Section 2, paragraph (d):
"If an individual employed by a governmental entity or other non-religious entity invokes any of the protections provided by section 1, and amendments thereto, as a basis for declining to provide a lawful service that is otherwise consistent with the entity's duties or policies, the individual's employer, in directing the performance of such service, shall either promptly provide another employee to provide such service, or shall otherwise ensure that the requested service is provided, if it can be done without undue hardship to the employer." [emphasis added]Some might call that a compromise, something the mainstream media keeps telling us needs to happen. That provision allows for the religious freedom of public employees while protecting the right to services for same-sex couples. Not sure how you could get any more compromise out of this issue than right there.
And no, the public employees referenced in this bill are not police and fire. How do I know? Because the bill tells me so.
The bill does not say public employees can refuse any service, it specifically states a small list of services that are directly associated with same-sex marriages, none of which related to public safety. And again, the services must still be performed, they would just be from a different employ without such religious objections.
Here is that list:
- (a) 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;
- (b) solemnize any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; or
- (c) treat any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement as valid [emphasis added]
Now that we have straight what the bill actually says and not what the media wants you to think it says, let's talk about why I think there are better alternatives to protecting the liberty of all than this bill.
It is simple really. A better solution would be get the government out of marriage.
We've talked before about how marriage laws came about because racists wanted to prevent interracial marriage. I've mentioned before that I don't really care if two loving gay people want to be joined together in a ceremony. It doesn't hurt you or me for that to happen, regardless of our religious beliefs.
As long as the government has the power to say who can and can't get married, there will be people who seek to use that power to force other people to try and tell them what they can and cannot believe.
The best solution to protect the liberty of homosexuals and the liberty of the religious is to take that power away from the government and put it in the hands of the people who are free to use their own property and labor in whatever means they see fit.
Since government is not likely to give up that power willingly, the next best alternative just might be HB 2453.