Camille LaBranche, Blog post #3 Kansas discrimination bill

A few days ago the Kansas House of representatives approved a bill, 72 to 49 which would allow discrimination of anyone who is believed to be of the lgbt community by businesses. Any type of business can refuse service to homosexuals whether that be the grocery store, a favorite restaurant, the movies, or even the police. If called on an emergency the police and the first responders who come with an ambulance or something like it are allowed to turn someone down solely on the basis that they believe this person or couple is gay. They don’t actually have to be, just so long as the person refusing service is “uncomfortable” and believes that they are. Now, they’re supposed to refer the gay person or couple (or what they believe to be a gay person or couple) to someone who is willing to help them or serve them in a business but that type of thing isn’t something one can trust very easily. If someone who hates you doesn’t want to help you personally, then they probably don’t want anyone to help you at all. Hospitals can even turn you down for service and it makes me wonder how the government is keeping us safe when there are people who can be refused emergency care? Waiting for a response team that will not discriminate against someone can mean their life. People can die from this bill. Human beings, in our very own country, can actually die because someone is “uncomfortable” with another human being. That’s insane to me. Furthermore if a person feels discriminated against in this way and they sue, the people who they sue are protected under the law and the person suing will have to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees.  

          This article goes on to explain how this bill is similar to that of the Jim Crow laws which were in effect from the 1880s into the 1960s. Jamelle Bouie, the author, writes, “call it a close cousin—if not sibling—of Jim Crow (naturally, for black gays and lesbians in the state, there’s little difference). Like its Southern predecessors, this proposal is meant to isolate and stigmatize a despised minority, under of the guise of some higher priority (“religious liberty”)”. So this bill clearly has some large similarities to that of Jim Crow laws and this bill, like those laws did, claims to protect the discriminated from violence. So if someone beats up what they believe to be a gay person, they will still go to jail. With the Jim Crow laws, though, that was also the case, however “legal stigmatization fed social stigmatization (and vice versa)” so black folks got beat up and killed anyway and there was hardly anything they could do about it legally. This could very well be the future for lgbt people in Kansas.

          It may already be obvious, but I believe this bill is outrageous and unconstitutional. It not only brings Kansas a step backward but it brings our country as a whole a step back. If this bill passes, Kansas will not be the only state to allow such discrimination. I’m sure many of the southern, former Jim Crow states would like to see this bill passed in their state as well. This bill goes against our basic human rights and it’s so awful that people can be so homophobic and hateful and take away someone else’s right because they don’t follow the beliefs of their own religion. I think it’s interesting how some Christians believe a Muslim can’t write a book about Christianity but those same Christians believe they can write laws and legislation about gay people. 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/13/anti-gay-jim-crow-comes-to-kansas.html

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