Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ONE of Georgia's license-to-discriminate bills is on hold

Senator Greg Kirk

Georgia Senate Bill 284 (see below) was reviewed in committee Monday. The committee took no action on the legislation sponsored by Senator Greg Kirk, a former Baptist pastor. The so-called First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia was dishonestly characterized as a non-discrimination bill:
… so as to prohibit discriminatory action against a person who believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held 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 marriage …
The reality, of course, is that this and a myriad of similar bills allow discrimination against gay citizens in employment, housing and public accommodations. This would also nullify anti-discrimination protections in Atlanta and other municipalities in the state.

None of this is really about religious necessity.

I do not know if proponents of these bills are still capable of intellectual introspection but the truth remains that providing service and participating in a same-sex marriage are two very different things. What these people really want is the legal right to demonstrate their disapproval by denying service. Bigotry cloaked in scripture.

Just because someone claims to have a religious objection to something doesn't mean that it is a legitimate matter of faith. Also, we are not obligated to recognize even legitimate religious objections. Such would be the case if a conservative Christian objected to providing services to Jews (something that they used to do in abundance). We would not stand for it. Why is it that denying service to gay citizens and taxpayers on religious grounds has any more legitimacy than a bill allowing people to withhold service to interracial spouses?

We need to fight these atrocities with the indignation that they deserve. Senator Kirk's right to respectful cordiality is forfeit. That right, if it exists, requires reciprocal good faith.

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