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Archive for Monday, February 20, 2012

Lawrence ordinance at center of fight over Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act

February 20, 2012

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— A legislative committee on Monday approved a bill that supporters said would protect religious freedom, but opponents said the measure could be used to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

“This is nothing more than legislative gay-bashing,” said Thomas Witt, president of the Kansas Equality Commission, after the House Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 2260, which is called the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.

During discussion on the bill, one of its main proponents, Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson, referred to the city of Lawrence’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which includes protections based on sexual orientation.

She said that ordinance could violate a business person’s religious beliefs if that person didn’t want to hire someone who was gay, transgender or cross-dressing. She used the example of a day care business.

“The situation in Lawrence, it then trumps the freedom of religion in our Constitution,” she said. “You cannot use your religion as a defense under that existing ordinance,” she said.

But opponents said the bill, if enacted, would open the door to discrimination.

“This isn’t about freedom of religion. This is about freedom to discriminate against people who you don’t agree with,” said Rep. Annie Kuether, D-Topeka.

Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, however, said the measure was needed especially now because of President Barack Obama’s decision to require birth control coverage, which has been protested by some Catholic officials.

But Kuether said that was a smokescreen, noting the bill was first introduced last year right after the city of Manhattan approved an anti-discrimination ordinance covering sexual orientation, and hearings on the bill last year dealt with same-sex marriage.

The measure would prohibit government from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion unless it furthered a compelling interest and was done in the least restrictive way possible. Discrimination would not be allowed against individuals covered by the Kansas Act Against Discrimination. This includes discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry.

Lawrence officials testified against the bill, saying the local ordinance extended beyond the protections of the state law. But Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration weighed in in favor of it.

Judiciary Chairman Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, said there was nothing in the bill that would invalidate a local ordinance.

“There is not a single local ordinance on the books right now that will come off based on passing this,” Kinzer said.

The measure, approved in committee on a voice vote, now goes to the full House for consideration. Kinzer said he did not know if or when the bill would be debated.

Comments

RogueThrill 2 years, 10 months ago

Apparently, somewhere along the line, we decided the freedom to be religious meant the freedom to persecute others.

People get equal freedoms in public, then you get the right to stand out in public and say they suck. That's how it works. You don't get to DENY other people freedoms to PROMOTE your own.

KS 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, but religious freedon is the trump card.

Cathy Tarr 2 years, 10 months ago

It's freedom of religion as long as it is the same as mine. That's the new "teabagger" form of reality.

Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 10 months ago

You know, gay people had all the rights they are complaining about not having before they came out of the closet.. What did they think people were gona say? Im not saying that to be mean, Im just saying. Keep that sort of thing and what you do in the sack with who you do it with to yourself and on a need to know basis. The same goes for straight people.. How hard is that? Quit wasting the courts and congress's time with stupid stuff

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

How would that work, exactly? No one would ever mention a spouse or significant other? Employees wouldn't identify their relationships with their "in case of emergency" people? No couple would ever hold hands walking down the street? No one would ever display family photos in their office or work cubicle?

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 10 months ago

@catfishturkeyhunter says civil rights are "stupid" and gays belong in the closet. These are the attitudes that make non-discrimination laws guaranteeing the right to earn a living and have a house necessary.

pace 2 years, 10 months ago

You don't think things through much. Pretty much go with your feelings. My feelings, no one needs to hunt for the table any more. all this hunting phoeee, heck we have an entire state department to cater to hunters and fishing. Lots of nonsense, waste of tax money.. license, stocking. We got to get rid of people wanting to hunt and fish. One less state service. zip the department. If we got rid of all civilian guns we would have a lot less armed criminal activity. Save a lot on police and reduce costs. People who hunt, shouldn't make a public display of it. All they have to do is just live different. It isn't interrupting any real personal rights. I don't want to hear about how you want to hunt. There is no need for you to do it. It is really icky to hear about how your shot a bunny. yuck. And you are being optimistic if you think gays being allowed to marry is all about the "sack' they are just like "real' people, Is that what you think of marriage? That it is all sack time and no work. Well it is the same for homosexuals. You seem to be thinking a lot about the sex part, they are justl like "real" people , worried about jobs, family, love, living their life as who they are. . I hope my friends have the right to marry, but being married is hard work, if you don't know that, ask your wife.

Glenn Reed 2 years, 10 months ago

I had a discussion with someone yesterday about churches and taxes. After discussing it, we both wanted to create a religion, therefore gaining tax-free status.

Heck, having the right to tell taxpaying people to go stuff themselves whenever I wanted to would be a nice bonus.

How do you go about creating a religion, gaining tax-free status, and getting the right to be a complete jerk to people completely undeserving of it?

Getaroom 2 years, 10 months ago

Woowh! catfishturkeyhunter has summed up so well what others have been struggling for so long to describe, "what's wrong with Kansas"! ( I know there is another real book) but never mind that for now because "cfth" has done what no other has accomplished before, self published a 'BlogBook' in one paragraph, in an easy to read form and not too complicated at that.

Morichalion: The church of the 501c3 is such a great loophole isn't it and with nearly unlimited perks - some of which you describe. I mean that is what America and Freedom is all about - no taxes - a free market only operation! It is interesting that this year, all the GOP candidates are running on a ticket of being The Most Conservative Christians Ever Credential and Romney is even an Extreme Conservative Christian - by golly. Kinda makes you feel all warm and queasy inside! So what we have here is ,"The 501c3 Church of The GOP" ! Great going Tea Partiers. Road kill on a platter, compliments cfth, tonight at the 'R's Paul Diner' if anyone is interested. This is a war free, tax free, love donations only gathering and God bless. Welcome back to the good ol' days when freedom meant something!!

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

Why all the hate, Christians?

Jesus is weeping for you.

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 10 months ago

Please don't lump all Christians into one group. There are many of us who openly disagree with those who want to deny rights to gays. Sorry, just had to point that out :)

pace 2 years, 10 months ago

good point. Put a sign in your yard showing that support. Especially if you live in Topeka.
It will be a comfort to many families and people to see that support expressed.

Mike1949 2 years, 10 months ago

kug; Just look at the history of Christianity. It is a history of hate. Actually, that goes for most religions which tends to explain many of the wars in history (not all though). Though I consider myself a Christian, I can honest say I am ashamed of many of the reactions of people in the name of God, (or any divine entity.)

People need to read their whole bible, and get the big picture and quit focusing on one verse, etc. Predigest is alive and well in this country, even more so than most of the countries that we claim we are better than. It is nothing new that the conservatives hate people who are different than them. Just look at history. Examples are every where.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

Judaism = "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."

and

"As Hillel the Elder had stated, whosoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whosoever that saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world."

Christianity = "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."

(This is the Condensed Version. Add one cup of common sense.)

jonas_opines 2 years, 10 months ago

"Just look at the history of (humanity). It is a history of hate."

Fixed that for you. It's a mistake to focus on a symptom, rather than the root cause. Religion is just a tool, and people use it, as a tool, the same as they do any other. When in the hands of good people, religious organizations can do great good. When in the hands of small-minded, hateful, or arrogant people, it can do a lot of damage.

If it wasn't religion, it would be something else.

Jean Robart 2 years, 10 months ago

Just because I disagree, that constitutes hate???

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

Just because you disagree, that justifies marginalization?

kugrad 2 years, 10 months ago

Religion is what you personally practice - it is your own personal beliefs and behavior. Denying the rights of others is not part of your religious freedom. .

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

...even if that person does something that is not allowed by your religious beliefs. As long as society deems it to be legal, then your religious beliefs cannot be legally imposed to prevent that person from exercising their civil right to do it. This is the religious equivalent to the social contract: giving up your right to force someone to do something so that they don't do the same to you.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Um, that if something is illegal in the eyes of the law that religious tradition does not make it OK? Yes.

Or, doing something for someone because you would have them do unto you? Yes.

Did I catch the "reverse" that you were referring to?

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

Very few religions require their members to refuse to engage in ordinary business dealings with persons who commit personal sins. Christianity isn't one of them. Of course, if passed, this ordinance would permit Mormons to refuse to hire persons who drink coffee. It would permit Quakers to refuse to hire persons who support the US military. It would permit Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse to hire anyone who is in favor of blood transfusions, or pay for health insurance that covers it. It would permit Christians and Muslims who regard usury as a sin to object to any business that charges interest. How can anyone in the State Legislature think that this is a good idea?

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

They don't think about it that way - somehow they've forgotten about the fact that there are other religions than their brand of Christianity.

Katara 2 years, 10 months ago

I am curious as to how exactly she used a daycare business as an example.

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

I imagine it involves an individual with a different gender identity than their biological gender having any role in the care and upbringing of another's child.

"People are being treated like equals under the law!! Hide yo kids! Hide yo wife!"

It's all scaremongering and political posturing in the end.

Katara 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh, I know. It's down to the gays wanting to steal babies now or something.

I am just curious as to how she said it.

chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh noez. They might give your kid the gays.

David Reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem here is trying to legislate conflicting standards of behavior & morality. Gays demanding legal recognition & protection, which allows them to practice relationships & behaviors in which they believe. People who practice belief in religious tenants.

What are the gay folks afraid of? I am sure a solution can be worked out if willing folks are willing to work this out without imposing their will on each other.

Enlightenment 2 years, 10 months ago

The gay folks aren't afraid of anything, it's the homophobes that are scared. It appears that the conservative anti-gay folks are the ones imposing their will on everyone. The gay community simply want the same benefits allowed to non-gay individuals and couples.

David Reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry enlightenment, but some liberals are religious also.

All the religious folks are asking is stop infringing on their constitutional right to practice their religious beliefs. That is the same request the gays are making.

Like I said earlier, if the verbal exchange would tone down & objectivity were to be allowed a solution might be found.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, either gay people have equal rights under the law or they don't - there's not really a "win win" compromise there.

Having been discriminated against for a long time, gay folks are probably understandably upset about that, and want for it to stop.

What's your suggestion for a solution that both sides would welcome?

thebigspoon 2 years, 10 months ago

How about common sense? What, exactly, is there to a "gay" person that scares the rest of us? Of all the silly ideas, homophobia is one of the worst and least founded in any rational thought. For heaven's sake, why do people hate so much that which they do not understand? Homosexuals are no different from "straight" people, except that they find attractiveness in a different direction. What in the hello is wrong with that? If one does not agree with homosexuality, which is, by the way, not a choice but a trait, kind of like blue eyes, then don't practice it. Problem solved, and obla di obla da life goes on.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree - I have no problem with gay/lesbian/etc. folks, and want them to have full equal rights in our society.

But, religious folks are entitled to their beliefs as well.

So, I was curious about what sort of compromise was being proposed - your version isn't a compromise, it's equality for gay/lesbians and a dismissal of religious belief.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 10 months ago

Not a dismissal, jafs, but a continuation. In my religion, I am taught to grieve for the souls of the sinners. I am not taught to deny them the rights given to others, regardless of my religious beliefs.

That said, those rights do not include denial of services or goods made available to the rest of society, unless that denial is based on law. And law, in the United States, has continually trumped religion when questions of societal good apply. Ergo, polygamy is not tolerated here. Sharia law is not tolerated here. Those beliefs that lead to harm of individuals or groups of individuals are not tolerated under our law.

Thsi bill leads directly to a denial of the rights of others not engaged in societal harm and is an abomination serving only those who are afraid of differences.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I generally agree.

But, just because your religious beliefs aren't judgmental, that doesn't mean others don't have differing ones.

And, those who would deny full equality to gay/lesbian folks do in fact believe that it is not in society's best interests to do so.

What's the problem with polygamy, provided that all participants are consenting adults?

Jean Robart 2 years, 10 months ago

and either people who ascribe to a religious faith have rights, too. It's time that Christians were defended against being discriminated against.

Enlightenment 2 years, 10 months ago

It's ridiculous that there has to be debates and legislation passed to allow all people to receive the same rights and privileges regardless of their marital gender composition.

You know, this would be a non issue if the silly conservative minded folks that object to same sex marriages would just stop have gay babies.

David Reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

Enlightenment, the prejudice is not one way. As an example my nephew, who lives in Boulder Co, was out eating dinner with his family. During dinner a gay couple, very loudly, called my nephew & his family Breeders.

Again I say, back off the tone & look at both sides with an eye for a solution.

By the way, some liberals don't support the gay lifestyle either.

Please stop the accusations, progress can be made on both sides.

Enlightenment 2 years, 10 months ago

citizen1, do you believe that one instance of attaching a label to your family members has the same magnitude as not having equal rights is to gays?

Your comment earlier suggests that gays and non-gays need to compromise in order to come to a solution. Let's entertain your proposal..........if as you suggest, both sides talk this out and both sides come to a solution, what would that solution be? What would be the compromise made by those opposed to gays having the same rights allowed to non-gay people?

The point is, folks that do not want their religious freedom infringed on should not force their religious beliefs onto those who do not subscribe to the same belief system.

David Reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

That is the issue enlightenment. We would explorer an undiscovered territory.

You need to take a step back. Based on what I see there is as much oppression by gay folks against people of faith. Example, gays demand people of faith recognize them when it violates their beliefs. You brush off that one incident as if it was nothing, ignoring the impact in their children & the threatening environment this situation presented. You see I was with my nephew. You see you lightly brush off the incident, and thus ignore the behavior of gays acting toward people if faith, while accusing them of the exact things gays do.

So you see, based on ones perspective who is right?

I believe objectivity & dialing down the rhetoric will help get folks together vs keep pushing them apart.

Both sides have rights & not at the expense of the other.

verity 2 years, 10 months ago

"The point is, folks that do not want their religious freedom infringed on should not force their religious beliefs onto those who do not subscribe to the same belief system."

Pretty much says it all.

chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

I've also heard people of various ethnicities call white people "crackers." Does that mean that we should pass a law that employers can specifically not hire anyone of a different race if it's against their religious beliefs? What's the compromise on that one?

KS 2 years, 10 months ago

In the south, the term "cracker" is a common name for folks born there. It is NOT a derogatory name. Study the history folks.

Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

That's true. I was born in SC and raised in FL, and I freely refer to myself as a cracker. I'm also a bit of a hick, sort of trashy and maybe a redneck.

Interestingly enough, I politely declined all the advances made upon me by gay men, and there were a few. Let me rephrase that... there were lots. Also, I found myself not offended when a guy in a gay bar in Ybor grabbed a handful of my rear end at a gay bar... on straight night. I especially liked that bar because the bathrooms were unisex and cutting in front of 30 women to download used beer in the urinal in front of them was sort of fun.

KS 2 years, 10 months ago

Religous freedom is the trump card. Go start your own country. That is why folks came here. They wanted religious freedom. Someplace along the line we have forgotton that in favor of all of the political correctness crap.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

No it isn't.

It's one of many rights and freedoms Americans have under the constitution - it's not the only one, or the most important.

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 10 months ago

Other states are in the process of passing pro-gay marriage laws, and we're stuck going backwards. Wake up, Kansas! Modern society says that anyone should be able to marry whoever they want and women should be able to make their own decisions concerning their bodies.

optimist 2 years, 10 months ago

If modern society said that then it would be. However, even California by majority vote chose not to recognize gay marriage. Just stating the facts.

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

Prop 8 was overturned as violating the constitution.

optimist 2 years, 9 months ago

By the 9th Circuit, the most over ruled appellate court in history. Just because a group of judges "rules" it unconstitutional doesn't make it so. The judiciary is as activist and political as any other branch of government and this courst especially so. This court technically had no standing to take up the case because there is no (Federal) Constitutional basis for it. Marriage and the laws that govern it are state laws and there is no Constitutional protection for sexuality. It is not a civil rights issue.

KS 2 years, 10 months ago

And folks ought to be able to practice their religion. Quit stepping on my toes.

Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

Mormons were forced to abandon polygamy.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 10 months ago

For the societal good of the young who were denied their right to freedom. Even you can not condone the slavery into which young women and girls were thrust through polygamy, can you?

Ragingbear 2 years, 10 months ago

Freedom of religion is not in the constitution. Only the freedom to not have laws made by the religionists.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

That's actually not true.

The 1st amendment states Congress shall make no law "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion.

Ragingbear 2 years, 10 months ago

Right. It doesn't say "Congress shall allow any and all churches to do whatever they dang well please and their rules supersede those set forth in this document."

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

First you say there's no "freedom of religion" in the document, then I show you exactly where it is, and you say "Right"?

The issue is difficult when differing rights/freedoms are opposed, as is the case here, with religious freedom and non-discrimination.

Seems to me that both sides miss the complexity.

Gay/lesbian folks are not protected by anti-discrimination at the federal level, meaning there's no constitutional amendment that lists them, as there is with women, black people, etc.

And, there's not a federal act like the Civil Rights Act, which includes them.

So it's a difficult issue to sort out.

My personal opinion, which should be clear to anybody who's ever read my posts, is that gay/lesbian/etc. folks should have full equal rights in our society, including the right to marry each other.

If/when that becomes the reality, then I imagine that churches will not be able to discriminate against them, and the issue will be resolved.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Of course, there is a possible problem even after that.

What if gay folks want to get married at a church that doesn't believe in gay marriage?

Will that church be required to marry them, because not to do so would be discrimination?

Or would they be allowed to preserve their religious freedom, and decline to do so, since their beliefs don't support gay marriage?

I suspect that some of the religious folks are afraid of exactly that scenario, in which their churches are forced to do something they're morally opposed to.

verity 2 years, 10 months ago

"Will that church be required to marry them, because not to do so would be discrimination?"

I've not seen any evidence that this kind of thing would happen. Are churches required to marry multi-racial couples if they believe it's wrong? I know the church I grew up in will not allow people to marry that have been divorced. They can, and do, vote anybody out of membership who doesn't follow their rules.

I'd like to hear from somebody who is a legal expert on this particular subject. I can see why people would be concerned, but so far very, very few churches have even been brought to account for telling people how to vote.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, I'd be interested too.

I don't know what the legal system says on this one.

But, it seems like common sense that if discrimination is forbidden, that churches would have to stop discriminating.

And that would directly conflict with their freedom to practice their religion.

Being divorced isn't being a member of a "protected class" so it may be ok to not marry them.

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

Were there any cases from the civil rights era where churches were sued for not allowing blacks?

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't know - I suppose we could look it up.

It's possible that it didn't cover churches, or they got an exemption somehow.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 10 months ago

The SCOTUS just ruled that churches can discriminate when it comes to employment so I can't see churches being made to marry those that don't meet their rules.

Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

I have yet to see as an adult any group of people that believe in their lie of a god make me do anything. Only the government can compel you to act and that's only because they can point a pistol at you and put you in the stripey hole.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Against whom?

And, do you have a case name, or other identifying characteristic, so I can easily look that up?

Thanks.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks.

That seems a bit much, don't you think? It allows churches to practice blatant discrimination, even when that discrimination is illegal under federal law.

Don't those who believe that people shouldn't be discriminated against find that objectionable?

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

A church marriage is a religious rite, and no church would be obliged to provide it against the tenets of its faith. That's absolutely clear under existing law. Nobody forces the Roman Catholic Church to perform the sacrament of marriage when divorces/divorcees decide to marry a second time. However, Catholic colleges and hospitals that employ Catholics and non-Catholics can't refuse to provide insurance coverage for the spouses of previously-divorced employees who remarry. Interestingly, Catholic institutions already provide this insurance, and have been doing it for decades. There was never any objection on the grounds of "violating religious freedom."

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Divorcees aren't a "protected class", so they wouldn't be protected under the various anti-discrimination states/amendments.

Does anybody know of churches that refuse to marry inter-racial couples? That would be a better example to look at.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I'll respond here, perhaps a mistake.

I understand your point about why an inter-racial couple would go to a church like that, but for many people it's more complicated than that.

For example, my in-laws are Methodist, and 7th day Adventists - both of those organizations have a majority and a somewhat official position against gay marriage, but there are significant minorities that support it.

And, unlike me, who simply chooses a church (if at all) based on what I want from the experience, many others have more attachments to the faith they grew up in.

So, Methodists and 7th day Adventists who are gay and want to marry often would like to have their relationship sanctioned by their churches - they don't want to just leave the church and find a more accepting one (of which there are relatively few, of course).

Whether or not we should allow churches to indoctrinate young children is a difficult issue, but it's not immediately clear to me that it's ok to let them do that - we should be concerned about protecting children, I think.

Mark Zwahl 2 years, 10 months ago

The idea of this law seems to be forgetting that freedom of religion and running a business or capitalistic enterprise of some sort are not the same thing. You are entitled to all the freedoms you want at home and at "church". But when you enter the marketplace of a democracy, there's different set of norms and mores. And one of them is that it's illegal to discriminate.

You don't like it? You don't have to participate.

JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm surprised the dimwit from Baldwin City, TerriLois Gregory, didn't get quoted in this story.

lunacydetector 2 years, 10 months ago

pharmacist: my consience doesn't allow me to prescribe abortifacients because it is against my religious beliefs.... church owned university: our consience doesn't allow us to provide contraception in our employee health insurance plan....

government: yes we can, make you do it...

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

"conscience"

Landlord - my conscience doesn't allow me to rent to unmarried couples, black people, or people who play cards.

Employer - my conscience doesn't allow me to hire non-Christians, or even Christians who don't believe exactly as I do.

Church owned university - my conscience doesn't allow me to enroll gay people.

What then?

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

Then people who engage in the immoral practice of dancing will go to jail.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

Good hates shrimp...

Leviticus 11:9-12 says: 9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. 10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: 11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. 12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

God hates figs: see Matthew 21: 18-20; Mark 11: 12-14; Jeremiah 29: 17.

The problem with psuedo-Christians (other than the Westboro Baptist Church), is they pick and choose which of "God's Word" to follow. You know, infallible God? Psuedo-christians think they know better and only follow parts of the bible convenient to them. Some day you're all gonna burn in H.eee. double-tooth picks.

chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

Church owned university: this has been part of the existing state law for years and years now, and we didn't say squat when it was enacted and have been complying all along, but can we turn this into political hay right at the moment? Yes we can!

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

It is a technique of diversion. By presenting this, some people can forget that the economy is a disaster, people have no jobs and no money, people are getting killed in the wars that are going on all over the world, and even more wars are apparently about to start.

In the face of disaster, the best thing to do is stick your head in the sand to see if there are bugs there.

Enlightenment 2 years, 10 months ago

Ron, you're right, this is another smoke screen to cover up the most obvious and critical deficiencies of our state's politicians. It seems as though morals and ethics come into play when politicians choose not to or can not provide solutions to major economic issues. In my opinion, it seems as though the Republicans use this tactic more than the Democrats.

chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

A panel of all men on birth control was a plot by Republicans to make sure we forget that the economy is bad? What? Seems to me it's more of a plot to stir up moral outrage and make people forget that rich people still have too much influence in our political process.

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree, like how our stock market hits its highest level in years because the Greek government agreed to subject their people to even more misery and desperation. The banksters effectively pulled a coup, since one of the conditions of the bailout is that the banks permanently monitor Greece's government. Another is that their constitution will be amended so that the loans are serviced before any other government expenditures can be made. Why spend money to buy politicians when you can just buy the government outright? Greece is not an aberration; it is the beta, the test model, for what is to come for all of us worldwide.

somedude20 2 years, 10 months ago

"She said that ordinance could violate a business person’s religious beliefs if that person didn’t want to hire someone who was gay, transgender or cross-dressing"

Wasn't that the same argument that was used against blacks during segregation?

"My lord don't want me to hire no black heathens. There are white women around..."

Don't let history repeat itself!

David Reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

At what point does humanity recognize we all have to live on the same planet & must respect each individual. When do we get out of our myopic worlds and stop acting like children and making demands like children.

Mature adults can deal with issues when one side does not try to gain the advantage over another.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

You believe religious zealots are human? That's cute.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

What's your suggestion for a compromise that would work for both sides?

I asked it before, and you didn't answer.

David Reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

These things need to be worked out in an environment conducive to some solution.

I did not say I was ready to propose a specific answer especially in this highly charged blogosphere.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Ok.

That's too bad.

I say that given the nature of this problem, there is no good compromise, that both sides would be happy with - gay people can either have equal rights under the law, or they can be denied those.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

It's the same with other groups seeking equal rights, like women, black folks, etc.

When women wanted the right to vote, what kind of compromise could there be? You can vote, as long as your husband doesn't mind?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

It's right there in simple English: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

From a source: the establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the "separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation.

My religion recognizes homosexuals as human beings and does not discriminate against them. My religion, a religion of peace and love, accepts contraceptives as a modern medical miracle and does not restrict the use there of. What about my religion? Seems like our legislators are catering to one religion in particular, which is clearly unconstitutional. Just another law suit waiting to happen. We've got plenty of tax dollars for law suits though, don't we? Personally, I'd rather use taxes to pay for lawyers who overcharge for their services than healthcare or education. (sarcasm)

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

Under this, will people be allowed to beat their stubborn children? Stone adulterers? Honor killings? Own slaves? Be forced to marry their dead husband's brothers? Be forced to ingest bitter herbs to cause abortion? Destroy churches that harbor commercial activities?

Ragingbear 2 years, 10 months ago

I would like to announce a new church opening up in the Douglas County Area. It is called the "Church of the Bumper Fishie". We believe that you should be allowed to make terroristic threats toward anyone, sabotage public and private entities,vehicles and facilities, swallow live goldfish, distribute child pornography, kidnap children, pollute the land,water,and air, feed cows lit sticks of dynamite, buy and sell radioactive materials to terroristic organizations, pour oil on bodies of water and set them on fire, kill anyone that doesn't believe the way we do, grind up puppies into a tasty sandwich spread (only live ones, they taste better that way) and we support the rape of random women.

~~Obviously, this post was made in jest. It is an attempt to demonstrate where this type of political garbage could end up taking us. I in no way support the above named activities (that message is for you DHS,CIA and whoever is reading this) or would encourage anyone to actually try or support these activities.~~

Ragingbear 2 years, 10 months ago

Moonshine and bestiality are your equivalents. You may also qualify for a monkey butler.

UltimateGrownup 2 years, 10 months ago

This article is loaded with false premises. Homosexuality is not a race, so the concept of "discrimination" does not apply. Homosexuality is a form of sex that is widely frowned upon and is illegal (Lawrence v. Texas illegality notwithstanding) in Kansas. In that sense, homosexuality is like pedosexuality, flashing, and other self-defeating and illegal sexual behaviors. Further, the original ordinance was a solution in search of a problem. I've not heard of homosexuals having trouble finding a job. Further, the hysteria around this issue is greatly misplaced when there are real problems to which the city council should devote its efforts. Considering President Obama's decree that insurance companies offer birth control coverage, that's another false premise as well. The Constitution does not give the federal president the right to issue decrees, much less tell companies what products they have to sell. Everyone knows this is unconstitutional.

jonas_opines 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for bursting my bubble. I thought, reading that post, that suddenly I could go out and discriminate against chicks, because sex isn't a race so it would be okay.

jonas_opines 2 years, 10 months ago

You didn't stay gone for very long after getting booted this time around, did you?

UltimateGrownup 2 years, 10 months ago

Acts of homosexuality continue to be illegal in Kansas. The Supreme Court does not have legislative authority, so Kansas law remains valid in this case, even if it is not enforced. As to "frowned upon," parents of homosexuals form support groups, just as they do as if they had sons and daughters who are addicted to drugs.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 10 months ago

@UltimateGrownup: Where to start?!?

  1. You're right that Kansas still has a law criminalizing gay relationships. However, it's not enforceable because of Lawrence v. Texas. Police can arrest gay people, but a district attorney would drop the charges. So it's not against the law to be gay--but you might be subject to government harassment.

  2. Consensual sex between adults is nothing like nonconsensual sex with children or nonconsensual public exposure.

  3. Anti-LGBT bias is a real problem. Research bears that out. I'm gay and I've personally witnessed/experienced discrimination in employment and housing. If you think citizens being denied employment and housing based on prejudice isn't a "real problem," well then I wonder what your priorities are.

I said it once already in this thread: attitudes like yours--e.g., conflating gays with pedophiles and self-destruction--are why nondiscrimination laws are needed.

Michele Dillon 2 years, 10 months ago

I am a Christian - Christian means displaying Christlike behavior. Christ hated the sin not the sinner. Christ ate with the tax collectors and loved the prostitutes. He never discriminated against a person. He befriended them. He questioned those who judged. I am tired of Christians with this higher than thou attitude. The behavior of same sex relationships is a sin, according to the bible but we ar all sinners. Having someone work for you or with you does not condone any behaviors but accepts the person.

asixbury 2 years, 10 months ago

Ghandi once said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

He also said "Christianity sounds good - we should try it".

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm going to have to remind you that I've asked you to stop responding to my posts, and yet you continue to do so, in violation of the TOS on this site.

We were discussing Ghandi, in case you missed that, not Obama.

asixbury 2 years, 10 months ago

I never said it was ok. I do not think any politician should even discuss religion in the public. Religion and politics do not mix.

tir 2 years, 10 months ago

This isn't just about the potential for using one's "religious freedom" as an excuse to deny gays, lesbians, and bisexuals their civil rights. A law like this could be abused in such a way that it could potentially deny ANYONE their rights.

Personally, I believe someone else's religious freedom ends where another person's civil rights begin. Believe whatever you want, but we cannot let you force your code of conduct on the rest of us. This country is not a theocracy (yet), although there are a lot of politicians running for President who seem to want to make it one.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 10 months ago

@tir: Not really. H.B. 2260 was written to target LGBT Kansans specifically. The law says government cannot burden a person's religion without a compelling government interest. Then it defines compelling government interest not to include nondiscrimination laws that go beyond federal and state law. Federal and state law cover most other minority traits--race, sex, religion, disability, etc. The only major group these laws do not cover is the LGBT community. Thus, the compelling interest definition is really saying only LGBT nondiscrimination laws are not a compelling government interest.

TinmanKC 2 years, 10 months ago

Here's my question: The text of the bill says: “Burden” means any government action that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails or denies the exercise of religion by any person or compels any action contrary to a person's exercise of religion, and includes, but is not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties, or exclusion from government programs or access to government facilities."

So, since my church recognizes and celebrates marriage between two people of the same gender, won't this bill mean that the state can no longer discriminate against my same-gender marriage? They would be inhibiting and constraining the exercise of my religion AND withholding benefits that people of other faiths get.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Now there's a very interesting question!

On the federal level, the "full faith and credit" part of the constitution would seem to argue that states must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, even if they don't allow them in their own state.

Peacemaker452 2 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” specifically relieves the states of the requirement to recognize same sex marriage from another state. The fact that the courts have not seen this as blatantly unconstitutional is unconscionable and is another good reason to get government completely out of the marriage business.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree - I'm waiting for a case to get to the SC, and hoping they'll overturn the DOMA.

And sure, this whole mess would be resolved (or mostly so) if there were no legal/social benefits to marriage.

But, that's very unlikely to happen, I think.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 10 months ago

@jafs: Courts distinguish between final judgments (such as a lawsuit), which are subject to FF&C, versus public acts (such as marriage), which are subject to FF&C with a public policy exception. That is, in part, why Kansas's constitutional marriage amendment [Art. 15, Sec. 16(a)] contains a statement that it is the declaration of the Kansas people that same-sex marriage is contrary to public policy.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 10 months ago

@Tinman: If only. Sec. 3(a)(2) of the bill expressly says it can't be used to recognize same-gender relationships.

TinmanKC 2 years, 10 months ago

My religion commands that we are to welcome the alien and sojourner in our midst. In fact there are at least 5 times as many Bible verses commanding hospitality and shelter for the aliens as there are verses about homosexuality. So... if this bill passes... and also the Kobach bill that makes sheltering aliens illegal... I can pull out my religion card and thumb my nose at Mr. Kobach? The government would be infringing on my religious practice of welcoming the alien. (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 27:19, Romans 12:13, etc.)

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