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Letters to the Editor

Legal bigotry

April 10, 2012

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To the editor:

Shame on the Kansas Legislature for creating and forwarding the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act. This bigoted law essentially legalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation and will override the anti-discrimination ordinance of Lawrence.

The “right” to discriminate under this new law would extend not only to businesses, but to any institution or person offering services, such as universities and individual teachers. Landlords, restaurants, doctors and insurance agencies could presumably refuse to do business with lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender residents under the guise of protecting “religious freedom.”

My question: Why does this law’s bigotry stop at the LGBT community? Why strip American citizen rights only from our LGBT friends and loved ones? I’m sure there are those who believe the Bible frowns on women working outside the home. Why not allow the option to fire or refuse to hire women? Non-Christians? People of color? The answer is that if these groups were included, this legislation would be seen for the radical, bigoted, draconian, un-American piece of garbage it is.

The targeted LGBT population is not politically strong enough, even with its burgeoning number of supporters, to block laws directed against them. And though these laws will surely be proven unconstitutional and struck down in the future, it will only be after more suffering among this persecuted population. Shame on the Kansas Legislature for using its power, not to guide our society into further enlightenment, fairness and freedom for ALL citizens, but to push it backwards toward ignorance and bigotry.

Comments

imastinker 2 years, 8 months ago

No kidding....I have no idea what she is talking about. I guess I'll have to google it.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

Somebody is feeling all inflamed & stuff.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

I have no interest whatsoever in what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, and desire government at all levels to be similarly disinterested. However, I've been waiting for some time to see any credible scientific evidence that homosexuality is a genetic trait that exists at birth. Not people's opinions or beliefs based on anecdotal evidence, but credible, objectively verifiable, scientific evidence.

Is there any?

ChloePrince 2 years, 8 months ago

@cato_the_elder

You said: "I've been waiting for some time to see any credible scientific evidence that homosexuality is a genetic trait that exists at birth. Not people's opinions or beliefs based on anecdotal evidence, but credible, objectively verifiable, scientific evidence... Is there any?"

Gee... I have been waiting for the same thing about any REAL evidence that GOD exists.

Why is it ok to question whether or not someone is Gay or Trans, yet we are all to take at face value that their is a spiritual higher power?

RELIGION is a "Lifestyle Choice" If Homosexuality is a Life Style Choice then HETEROSEXUALITY is a "Lifestyle Choice"

Show many ANY "credible, objectively verifiable, scientific evidence" otherwise.

You do not speak for God... The bible is nothing more than creation of man's ignorance of what they do not understand but try to explain.

esteshawk 2 years, 8 months ago

The point is this law uses religion to supress a certain group of people. Your comments were, essentially, government should stay out of our lives, but because gay-ness cant be scientifically proven, then it is okay to use religion to discriminate. CP merely pointed out God cant be proven scientifically any more than homosexuality.

esteshawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Like your points, except the last short paragraph.

Gotalife 2 years, 8 months ago

You FalseHope are doom and gloom. No names called here, just answering your question.

Dick Sengpiehl 2 years, 8 months ago

Yours are one of the few Sane comments. Of course it's about civil rights. I suggest everyone contact Terri-LoisGregory, representative from the 10th district, and ask her how she voted. She's a rightie and needs to be voted out.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

autie -- are you sure they are acting?

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

Sometimes I think I love you, autie. Right to the point, with no excesses.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I'm sure you're right. A sign that says "No Colored", another that say "No Dogs or Jews". Yes, for the good old days, when we had a free country.
Now, where is that "Colored" water fountain? Or maybe, just maybe, we've gone past that.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

Of course you may discriminate against some people, but you cannot discriminate against certain protected classes of people. Those protected include people based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, country of origin, sexual orientation, etc. Drunks, those without shoes, etc., are not in those protected classes and are free to be discriminated against.
So put up your sign, if you choose. But choose your words carefully.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

If you think everyone should be protected, drunks, people without shoes, spinsters offending you with "sweetie", then work to have those people added to the list of those protected. Write a letter to your representative. Circulate a petition. Organize a protest. Occupy something instead of wasting your time pecking away on your keyboard. Times a wastin', Math, go.

JohnBrown 2 years, 8 months ago

"It's a free country". Not if the Tea Partying Conservatives (=American Taliban) have their way.

In Michigan the American Taliban are quietly doing away with Democracy. Google 'Benton Harbor' for more. Plus thy have lied about how soon the legislature's laws take effect by denying Democrats in the legislature the right to a roll call vote.

If it's a free country, then you're free to be gay without a law protecting those who would bully you, for religious purposes ONLY of course - an American Taliban 'family value': bullying gays.

In a free country you don't need 'papers' when traveling on the road.

In a free country you can get an abortion, but in Kansas and Virgina the American Taliban are trying to put Big Government between patients and their doctors.

The American Taliban don't believe in My freedom. Their motto is "Do as We say or else".

Alyosha 2 years, 8 months ago

You're unaware that the EPA was proposed by President Nixon, apparently.

Try to breathe deeply and remember that though you think they're real, the monsters under your bed ("Obama/Pelosi/Reid," in your formulation) are just a projection of your own fears. There's nothing real about them.

boltzmann 2 years, 8 months ago

Devising an energy strategy that you disagree with is hardly the stuff of the "Taliban". This is another classic example of someone confusing tyranny with not getting everything that they want. If you disagree with the policy write your congressman. Vote in the next election. Don't pretend the development of a national energy strategy is at all equivalent to the theocratic rule of the Tailban. It isn't and you make yourself and your case look foolish for bring it up in that manner.

Mike Ford 2 years, 8 months ago

some christians used doctrine and dogma to discriminate against others and when theocrats get elected....forget all the necessary work of government......the dimwits must go after easy targets.....the obsession with bigotry is why you've lost the women vote back to President Obama. I'm enjoying your julius caesar like approach to political self immolation....and yet you're tooooo dumb to get it.......expected.... now the change the subject blame the victim and praise rush......

jonas_opines 2 years, 8 months ago

"Calling Christians "dimwits" is not bigoted, nooooo."

When someone makes an attempt to enshrine that into law, then you might actually have a point there.

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

It really is pathetic isn't it? I thought it was all about "hate the sin not the sinner". But it's really "I'm Christian....unless you're gay".

booyalab 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't think Jesus said "and if you rent an apartment to the least of these, you rent one to me" it wouldn't even make sense...if you are able to rent an apartment, you don't need charity.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

He also didn't say "Don't rent to gay people".

asixbury 2 years, 8 months ago

No one should be discriminated against because they have a different sexual preference, despite what anyone's religion says. Religion has not place in politics. In the future, this ridiculous, soon-to-be government sanctioned, bigotry towards LGBT will be looked back on in much the same way as slavery is now. Do you even know or care about anyone that is gay or lesbian? I have a very dear family member that could be affected by this backwards law. The thought of someone treating him wrong because of something he does in the privacy of his own home is maddening!

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

If you don't get it, it's because you're trying not to understand it.

Imagine if you could be denied housing, employment, etc. because of your sexual orientation - that should help a bit.

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

"If you don't get it, it's because you're trying not to understand it."

A lot of that goes on---

JohnBrown 2 years, 8 months ago

To Changless and Without Hope: Brownies law legalizes bullying gays by self-described christians. uh...that's wrong, and it's not Christian.

esteshawk 2 years, 8 months ago

And you successfully fended off their liberal indoctrination.

boltzmann 2 years, 8 months ago

Oh spare me the crocodile tears. Conservatives and people with strong religious beliefs are not discriminated against in Douglas County. It seems that all you are upset about here is not being allowed to bully homosexuals and to be subjected to people who disagree with you. Hardly the stuff of discrimination.

But don't give up hope - maybe someday Kansas will elect a conservative, strongly religious governor. Then you will know that you have truly overcome your downtrodden status.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Bigotry has to do with beliefs.

Discrimination has to do with actions.

somedude20 2 years, 8 months ago

You would think that the Republicans would be more open to the gay community since so many of them (Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ed Schrock, Ted Haggard, ect) are homosexual. Of course Craig was, at least publicly, a very anti-gay person so maybe that is how they roll (in the light of day, gays go away but in the dead of night, yum yum delight)

Isn't being divorced a "sin" that should be discriminated against as well. If you are weak-minded and need religion to get you through life, fine but please PLEASE PLEASE stop putting your stupid morals and religious values on the rest of us as it is BS. Funny how we can look at the Greeks and say, wow, how could anyone believe such a farce but here we are today with a number of sheep who need some magic to get them through their lives, fine but follow your own rules and leave the rest out of it.

asixbury 2 years, 8 months ago

No one should be discriminated against because they have a different sexual preference, despite what anyone's religion says. Religion has not place in politics. In the future, this ridiculous, soon-to-be government sanctioned, bigotry towards LGBT will be looked back on in much the same way as slavery is now. Do you even know or care about anyone that is gay or lesbian? I have a very dear family member that could be affected by this backwards law. The thought of someone treating him wrong because of something he does in the privacy of his own home is maddening!

bad_dog 2 years, 8 months ago

"What if a man’s preference is to have a wife and multiple girlfriends?

That reminds me of an old song...

"I'm a dangerous man from a dangerous city and I lead a dangerous life. I've got 16 or 17 dangerous girlfriends and a very dangerous wife..."

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

If all of the people involved are consenting adults, it's nobody else's business, in my view.

If the husband is cheating on his wife, breaking his vows, and lying about it, that's a different story - then I have a judgment.

But, should he be denied housing or employment because of it?

Imagine that - all cheaters denied various opportunities because of their cheating - given the ridiculously high percentage of people who cheat, that would be a lot of people out of a job, apartment, etc.

asixbury 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't believe anyone you mentioned should be discriminated against either. Except maybe for the cheating man....but even he shouldn't be discriminated against in the secular world, just maybe in his personal life.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 8 months ago

@Gotland: This is a classic slippery slope fallacy. Assume polygamy is bad, insinuate acceptance of same-sex couples slides into that, reader makes logic leap...

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

I posted this on the other LTE that is on the same stupid law. What she is saying is get out of other people's bedrooms and lives, if you want to do business in the United States. If you are doing business, just do business. Quit worrying about who is sleeping with whom, what that person's religion is, where that person's family is originally from, what the color of their skin is, what their disability is. If they have the money to do business with you, then take care of business only. You do not need a personal relationship with your customers. If you can't do that, move or work for someone else. Or go off and be a hermit. I will do business with anyone, even if they are a pompous, holier than thou religious fanatic, who hates people of color and gays.

I'm a business person, not a monitor for other's personal believes and behavior. If you are a student in a school, don't talk to any student who is not like you. Ignoring someone is not calling them names and bullying them. It's none of your business if they are gay, unless you are interested in them sexually.

You are not responsible for other people's souls, but you are responsible for your own behavior, and renting to a "good" Christian married couple, who tear up your house and don't pay the rent, is not more desirable to renting to a gay couple who maintain your house as if they owned it, and pay you on time. But I guess if you are that stupid, you get what you deserve. It's called karma, and I see it coming back to bite people all the time.

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

Actually, as much as I hate the man, I probably would do business with him. I would do it quickly, so he would leave quickly, and probably not go above and beyond in customer service, just plain customer service.

Ragingbear 2 years, 8 months ago

I believe that being a Republican is against my faith. Therefore, I get to legally persecute Republicans without legal repercussions. Hooray me!

JohnBrown 2 years, 8 months ago

Let's hear it for the Kansas version of Sharia Law. The American Taliban are very active here today.

Geiiga 2 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, we're all waiting for our civil liberties to be eroded by having health insurance. Oh noes! I'm insured!

...pillock.

esteshawk 2 years, 8 months ago

How in the world is "Obamacare" an erosion of civil rights? please, do tell.

boltzmann 2 years, 8 months ago

That has really nothing to do with the ACA. The fact is that you are already paying because hospitals have to treat individuals in the ER regardless of their ability to pay (due to a law signed by Reagan). Because of that you are paying for other individuals health care through your current insurance rates and hospital charges (which are inflated to compensate for the uninsured). All the ACA does is try to put some individual responsibility into this equation by requiring people to have health insurance. The current system is extremely inefficient, which is one of the main reasons we pay nearly double the health care costs that other industrialized countries do, with worse outcomes.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

We should all be concerned about that, but not only when Obama or a Democrat is president.

But, the situation in Greece is similar to our situation - there has been a tax avoidance habit among much of the population - if you combine that with high spending, it's a recipe for disaster.

Interestingly, when a ratio of $1 tax increases/$10 spending cuts was proposed, Republicans wouldn't go for it - hmm.

Seems eminently reasonable to me, and the only real way out of our dilemma.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

It might be.

But, then again, maybe not. Given Grover Norquist's pledge to never raise taxes, many Republicans will not vote for anything that includes a tax increase, thus preventing any common sense solutions.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Except that it's not at all self-evident.

I've posted numerous times that spending is high, while tax revenues are low, compared to the only time in the last 40 years or so that we've had a balanced budget.

So, to fix that, it seems only common sense that spending should be lowered while revenues are raised.

When Clinton was president, the budget was balanced, with about 18% of GDP for both revenue and spending. Current levels of spending are higher than that, while revenues are lower than that.

Given the huge deficits, what spending would you eliminate to fix them?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

And the Republicans sat on their hands for the vote on raising the marginal tax rates.

But, that's a side issue.

And, if you look at the deficits during the 8 years of the Clinton administration, you'll see continually decreasing deficits, followed by increasing budget surpluses (in the last 4 years).

So, what they did worked - that's why it's a good model, and the only one in about 40 years that did so.

Ah - you want to eliminate major parts of the federal government, and shrink it down beyond what most reasonable people would agree with - I understand.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

You still fail to take into account the facts about the time the budget has been balanced - that wasn't done by slashing the federal government down to a size "small enough to drown in a bathtub".

Yes, it's subjective.

And, it's my subjective point of view - advocating for the above isn't reasonable.

For one thing, it's just not going to happen. For another, I don't agree that it would be a good thing.

esteshawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Excellent job in ignoring all the successful nationalized medical systems out there. That certainally will win any argument.

David Reynolds 2 years, 8 months ago

Actually Sharon, Lawrence's law is in direct conflict with the constitution which grants religious freedom. So we have a conflict.

I don't care what laws exist or not some mind numbed robot is going to do what ever they want regarding discrimination. The issue here is winning hearts & minds. You can not legislate behavior. Yes you catch a few here & there but that does not deter behavior in the big picture, it just makes it more subtle.

If I might suggest, time would be better spent communicating positive reasons regarding why LGBT behavior is acceptable.

Laws don't make issues acceptable, they just make things legal. Heats & Minds Sharon, Hearts & Minds. That is where the issue is won or lost.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Of course you can legislate behavior - in fact, that's what legislation is about.

And, changes in attitude often follow after legislative changes, rather than the other way around.

LGBT folks may want people to find them "acceptable" in an emotional sense, but I suspect that having equal legal rights is more important to them.

If I were denied housing, employment, and a host of other rights because of my sexuality, that would be my priority. What you think of me is your business.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, you've lost that battle - it's been a while now.

Bigotry is an attitude, discrimination is an action.

It's not about "politeness", it's about basic rights that we've decided all citizens should have in our society.

I guess I'll add this to my list of your ideas that I find unreasonable.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I find your argument unconvincing and extreme.

There are clear distinctions that you're not making, which are crucial to sorting these questions out.

And, as I said, you lost this argument a long time ago - we decided that property rights aren't absolute, and that discrimination based on a variety of characteristics is not ok.

If you think those laws are unconstitutional, then you have every right to try to get the SC to hear a case about them, and rule in your favor. I imagine that some have been tried, and the SC hasn't overturned them - is that the case?

Failing that, you're wasting your time and energy getting all upset about it, in my opinion.

One distinction you miss is the following: what consenting adults do in their own home is one thing, while what you do as a business owner interacting with the public is another.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

No they're not.

You're fighting a losing battle, one that's been lost already.

If you don't want to follow the appropriate legal guidelines for operating a business - local, state and federal, then you shouldn't operate one.

And, btw, this issue wasn't a federal one - it was a local Lawrence anti-discrimination law. So arguments about the federal government are a little bit irrelevant.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

None of the rights in the bill of rights are absolute.

They all have limitations, based on the idea that one person's exercise of their rights shouldn't impinge on another person's rights.

"My right to swing my fist around ends where your face begins".

The reason that it's not ok for you to deny housing to somebody because of their race, gender, etc. is because it hurts them for you to do so.

So your rights as a property owner are limited so that you can't hurt others by using them.

To me, this is quite reasonable, and balances the rights of the individuals involved, whereas your idea over-weights your property rights to an extreme degree.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Bigotry is not a crime - discrimination is.

You can feel and think about people however you like.

The original inalienable rights in the D of I don't even mention property at all - they're "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

And, in the constitution itself, they're not absolute either - you can lose any of them after "due process".

This idea of "absolute rights" isn't based on our system at all.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 8 months ago

@Lateralis: You seem to have an absolutist approach to private property, which I don't think is accurate. Why does government have no right to regulate non-criminal conduct on private property? How do you explain zoning laws? Or the 13th Amendment's regulation of private conduct in the context of race?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Libertarians, at least the hard liners, think those laws are wrong, and that property rights should be absolute.

I'm not sure where they get the idea from, though.

George_Braziller 2 years, 8 months ago

So what happens if an individual gets fired from a job or is denied housing just because someone ASSUMES they are gay or lesbian even if they aren't?

That's an act ". . . substantially motivated by a sincerely-held religious tenant or belief . . ."

"...and includes the right to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a sincerely-held religious tenant or belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or a central part or requirement of the person’s religious tenants or beliefs."

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 8 months ago

@citizen1: I think you overlook the remedial component of nondiscrimination laws. If someone is fired or evicted because of their minority status, that has real economic consequences. That's why human rights boards often have the power to award damages. These laws exist in part to say to people "don't be racist etc.," but they also exist to band-aid situations that crop up.

David Reynolds 2 years, 8 months ago

Jafs my comments were not of a personal nature. I am sorry to say that society does not always find a particular piece of legislation "acceptable". A major example is Roe V Wade.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I didn't take them personally - I'm straight.

"Society" is a pretty broad term - I'm sure that there are few things that everybody in our society would agree with - but in general, attitude and legislation have a sort of circular effect on each other.

Sometimes changes in attitude come first, but other times, they follow legislation.

And, as I said, attitude is not the most important thing to groups that are being denied equal rights, as far as I can tell - they want equal legal rights.

Armored_One 2 years, 8 months ago

"I don't get it."

What is there not to get? Maybe this line from an old piece of parchment will ring a bell or two.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"

Granted, the time period that this comes from was not exactly friendly to anyone that was not male and/or white. The cold, practical truth, however, is as impossible to ignore as air.

Either all of us are born equal, live as equals, and die as equals, or none of us are equal, there are people that are better people than you are, deserve more because of it, and should have to do less to achieve it. The rules that apply to you don't have ot apply to the person next to you, or behind you, or in the same room as you.

A law shouldn't have exceptions. There shouldn't be laws that pertain only to white people, or black people, or green people. There shouldn't be laws that only affect women, or only affect men.

There shouldn't be laws that allow religion to bypass the same laws everyone else has to abide by, either.

Faith and belief are wonderful things, but they are intensely personal, and should be kept that way. Organized religion, in this day and age, is nothing more than a political party that doesn't have to pay taxes on it's property. Christianity, as it is presented in this century, as well as the most recently century past, is no longer one that raises to poor up to stand on their feet again.

Christianity is a wonderful concept. Sadly, people got involved and everything went downhill from there.

Pause and take stock some time just how many laws religious institutions in this country are expempted from following, despite the founding document of this nation directly stating that Congress shall pass no laws that either establish a national religion, or even just endorse one religion over another.

The Ten Commandments, the actual laws and not the movie, are a really awesome idea for the most part. That whole not covetting thing would destroy the world economy if no one ever saw something their neighbor had and wanted the same thing, or something even better. But other than that, the really big rules in there are just pretty good, all told.

The excrement modern Christians spew forth is nothing even approaching the key teaching of Jesus, which was most excellently stated in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure by Abraham Lincoln.

Be excellent to each other.

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

In today's USA the Christians who kick poor people when they are down, and make all kinds of excuses for why it's okay to bully gay people and Muslims would be the first in line to execute the criminal Jesus; he was poor, radical, and annoyingly good at pointing out hypocrisy...

hear that guys? Jesus was a poverty stricken, executed criminal! Don't ever forget it!

Mike Ford 2 years, 8 months ago

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gudpoynt 2 years, 8 months ago

So what is the difference between a doctor who chooses not to perform abortions based on personal religious beliefs (which is currently allowed by law), and a landlord who chooses not to rent to gays based on personal religious beliefs (which is currently not allowed by law, for now)?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

That's an interesting question.

Doctors perform a variety of procedures on people - by refusing to perform abortions, they're not refusing to provide any health care at all. I think that would be a better analogy - if a doctor simply didn't want to treat somebody at all because of their religious convictions.

If they choose not to perform abortions on anybody, it's not quite discrimination in the same way, I think. They have a problem with the procedure, and don't want to do it.

Any doctor who refused to treat somebody because they were gay would fall into the same category as the landlord, though.

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