Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Virginia advances a right-to-discriminate bill

On Tuesday. Virginia's Senate General Laws and Technology Committee approved Senate Bill 41, by a vote of 8-7 along party lines. The text of the bill is pretty simple and straightforward:
A. No person authorized to perform a marriage ceremony pursuant to Chapter 2 (§ 20-13 et seq.) of Title 20 shall be required to solemnize any marriage, and no religious organization, organization supervised or controlled by or operated in connection with a religious organization, individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of his employment, or clergy member or minister shall be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization of any marriage if the action would cause the individual or organization to violate a sincerely held religious belief.

B. A refusal to solemnize a marriage or provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges under subsection A shall not give rise to civil or criminal liability or any other action by the Commonwealth or a political subdivision to penalize or withhold benefits or privileges, including tax exemptions or governmental contracts, grants, or licenses, from any individual or organization listed in subsection A.
This is disgraceful because, as written, it would allow government employees to refuse certain services. It is disgraceful because it establishes, as fact, the idea that individuals and organizations, other than clergy, require the right to refuse service. At the risk of repeating myself this is about refusing service to people one disapproves of all neatly cloaked in scripture. They want that right in order to demonstrate said disapproval.

These good Christians don't seem to care about the message that they send to gay kids and more vulnerable members of the LGBT community. Presumably Governor Terry McAuliffe will veto this thing if passed in the legislature but that's not the point.

The sponsor of this bill, Sen. Charles Carrico, has also introduced SB40 which permits government employees to opt out of facilitating marriage licenses for gay couples. I cannot tell from his bio if he has one year of college or a two-year degree.

Regardless of his educational background he has introduced a number of religion-oriented bills over the years. SB-40 would seem to defy the Establishment Clause.

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