Views & Voices

On Republicans and their “religious liberty”

Balloons spell out the word "love" over the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US.

Balloons spell out the word "love" over the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Balloons spell out the word "love" over the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Balloons spell out the word “love” over the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US.

The Republicans recently introduced a bill into the House of Representatives called the First Amendment Defense Act.

In a nutshell, it’s a bill that allows discrimination. Period.

Go ahead and spin it any way you want. Put an addendum on it. At the end of the day, it’s still a bill that allows and even encourages discrimination against same-sex marriage, including such telling phrases as:

(1) Leading legal scholars concur that conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious liberty are real and should be legislatively addressed…

(a) IN GENERAL.— Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

There’s more – if you’re interested, you can read the rest here. But be prepared for a lot of Republican balderdash.

Here’s the thing. When you’re in a business that’s open to the public, you have to serve that public — every single person in it. If you can’t do that, well then you shouldn’t be in business. Period.

The fact remains that you can practice your religion anywhere, at any time, no matter how many same-sex people you may serve.

No one’s telling you that you can’t believe what you want. Maybe we just want a piece of cake!

As an American, you should be able to shop wherever you choose, and buy whatever you choose. The fact that you’re gay or black or Jewish or Muslim or transgender or young or old should never enter the conversation. Ever.

I can’t believe we’re still living in a country where bills are introduced that not only allow, but encourage, discrimination.

But here we are.

Perhaps the reason this bill offends me on so many levels is because I’m in my sixties, so I can remember when there were many places in the South that were for “whites only.” Maybe it’s because I was raised during a time when being gay wasn’t as accepted as it is now, and I don’t want us going back to accepting that or any sort of discrimination.

Maybe it’s because I waited so long to come out that I understand the importance of being able to live a life that’s open and honest. I don’t want anyone regulating how I can be treated. Been there, done that, have the #lovewins t-shirt.

If you agree with anything in this bill, then you and I aren’t living in the same country. This bill isn’t about uniting anybody; it exists solely to justify separation and discrimination. It’s about elected officials deciding their “Christian” religion should be the law of the land… when the real law of the land is really quite clear: that pesky First Amendment to our Constitution.

And as for same-sex marriage, the law of the land says you can do that, too — even though there are some county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses.

But that’s a whole different set of laws the Christian Republicans want to decimate.

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