Monday, March 12, 2018

Kentucky House Bill 372 makes clear our second-class status

Kentucky - unbridled spirit
Kentucky slides further off the rails of reality. Titled “AN ACT relating to protections of religious organizations,” HB-372 is a garden variety license to discriminate straight from Alliance Defending Freedom's boilerplate machine. Almost identical to the reintroduced First Amendment Defense Act (courtesy of ADF), the bill obliquely recognizes same-sex marriage. They are just too clever. However, the recognition is utterly meaningless.

HB-372 dangerously defines a religious organization as:
A religious group, corporation, association, school or educational institution, ministry, order, society, or similar entity, regardless of whether it is integrated or affiliated with a church or other house of worship; or

An officer, owner, employee, manager, religious leader, clergy, or minister of an entity or organization described in this subsection…
That could conceivably apply to just about anything or anyone who chooses to discriminate. The bill goes on to preempt municipal nondiscrimination laws with regard to religious organizations. However religious organizations are so broadly defined that it could have the effect of nullifying all political sub-division laws that protect LGBT people.

Eight Kentucky municipalities have local non-discrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity: Covington, Danville, Frankfort, Lexington-Fayette County, Louisville Metro, Morehead, Vicco and Midway. Louisville Metro is comprised of about 1.2 million, more than a quarter of Kentucky's population of 4.4 million.

Perhaps they will edit the language or, perhaps, they will leave it intentionally ambiguous. Either way, we get it. Kentuckians require the dubious right to discriminate against LGBT citizens and guests.

The bill has 45 Republican sponsors and one Democrat. He is Gerald Lynn Watkins, representing District 3 which includes most of Louisville.

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