Friday, February 14, 2014

The weak and tepid response of gays to the new Kansas anti-gay bill.

Someone ought to remind people who call themselves progressive or believe in liberal principles that the country was founded by liberals and its constitution is a product of the most liberal thinking in the history of  human civilization. Maybe then they'll stop being so defensive, weak and timid when it comes to standing up for principles they believe in and will get tough.

The Kansas state House just passed a bill that allows anyone to refuse services of any kind to gays or same sex couples if it "is contrary to their sincere their religious beliefs".
The legislature has said the purpose of the bill is to protect businesses and individuals from having to serve or provide products and services to same sex couples who don't want to provide them on religious grounds from being sued.

The official response of a gay organization spokesperson to this is that the bill is "nothing more than a bill designed to treat gays and lesbians as second class citizens".

My response to their response is "duh".

The purpose of the bill is clearly to treat gays and same sex couples as second class citizens. Actually the purpose of the bill is to treat gays and lesbians as not being citizens at all.  But is that the best gay and lesbian organizations can do for a response?

How about getting tough?

How about pointing out that the bill violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, will never pass constitutional muster, will never be upheld by any court much less the Supreme Court, and is another example of one more state thinking they can impose their religious beliefs, whatever those beliefs may be, on people who don't share them and deny an individual's constitutional rights in order to enforce them.

They could also add that  same sex couples who are denied anything based on their orientation will sue anyone they want to sue and for any amount they wish for discrimination and that any business relying on this law who thinks denying services is going to prevent them from being sued is delusional.  And if the law is ruled unconstitiutional which it almost certainly will be,  they are going to lose and its going to cost them.

They might also point out that once again, as with abortion, the Kansas legislature as has been the case with others like them, continues to waste state taxpayers time and money by passing a law that will probably be ruled unconstitutional by a lower court federal judge who will then most likely grant an injunction against the law preventing it from going into effect which will put anyone who denied services to a same sex couple behind the 8 ball in a law suit not to mention that the legislature will waste even more state tax payer money, millions probably,  trying to defend it all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary and then lose.

They could have said all that. Maybe now they will.

NOTE: Maybe no one will have respond after all. While the bill passed the Kansas House handlily the Republican led state senate has gotten nervous about the bill.

 Susan Wagle, the Republican president of the senate issued a statements saying she is "concerned about the practical impact of the bill' and went on to say she didnt think the majority of Republicans in the senate will support it.

ADDENDUM (2/21/14): The Arizona legislature has just passed a bill similar to the one passed by the Kansas House. The response to the Arizona law and its clear unconstitutionality by gays and others who support equal rights has been more vocal than Kansas. There is a good chance Governor Brewer will veto the bill as outside pressure mounts against the bill. 

NOTE: As most know by now,Governor Brewer vetoed the Arizona bill. More recently the Kentucky Attorney General has announced we will refuse to defend the ban on gay marriage passed by the Kentucky legislature and struck down by a federal judge. The Governor of Kentucky has said he will hire outside legal help to defend the ban.

 Perhaps what's needed is making the point forcefully to other state legislatures that pretend fiscal conservatism (if equal rights and the constitution isn't their cup of tea) that they are wasting their time and their tax payers money trying to pass and defend laws that will never see the light of day.


Anonymous said...

They'll probably cut education funding, entitlements, the University of Kansas funds and other services in order to pay for their legal battle in support of this outrageous bill. I'll never visit or drive through Kansas, and suspect they may lose tourism and convention funds. Isn't Kansas the homE of the Westboro Baptist church? No doubt, they had much to do with this.

Anonymous said...

People should begin a boycott of large Kansas based companies like Applebees, Dillons, Fuller Brush, Garmin, Houlihans, Hills/Science Diet pet food, Lee Jeans, Payless Shoes, and Sprint.

Marc Rubin said...

"People should begin a boycott of large Kansas based companies like Applebees.."

I dont think boycotting companies that had nothing to do with the legislation is the answer but I do see a point in getting tough with those responsible, have gays make it clear they will sue anyone who refuses them service on those grounds, and point out that if the law doesnt go into effect or gets struck down, those refusing service are going to be held civilly liable and its going to cost them in dollars. Gay groups could also point out the waste of state taxpayers money debating and passing laws that have no chance of being upheld.Putting out statements that only point out the obvious, that the laws discriminate, is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about the boycott idea, Marc, but I can't help but imagine that if the State's major financial players were affected, they would bring pressure to bear. It would be interesting to see if the Kansas legislature would back down if corporate interests demanded it.

Marc Rubin said...

"It would be interesting to see if the Kansas legislature would back down if corporate interests demanded it."

They are already backing down. The Kansas senate is having second thoughts because of the likelihood of it being overturned. But Arizona just passed a similar law. The governor,Jan Brewer is having second thoughts about signing it for the same reason. But threats of individual law suits against businesses that try and implement the law would fight fire with fire and might give other states second thoughts about considering similar legislation.One thing is certain -- opponents of the law ought to think about doing more than just stating the obvious about discrimination.