You think you’ve seen it all when it comes to anti-gay b.s., but I have to agree with the obvious click bait of the headline here: Kansas’ Anti-Gay Segregation Bill Is an Abomination. (But why oh why, Slate, are you using up-style headlines? It’s So Old-Fashioned, And Not In a Good Way.)
When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees. As I’ve noted before, anti-gay businesses might as well put out signs alerting gay people that their business isn’t welcome.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples—not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.
Does anyone in the Kansas legislature have any shame about being featured on “Ken Burns’ Gay Revolution,” premiering in 2020? I guess not. Who are these people, who can simultaneously feel like the most oppressed, put-upon souls in human history — besides Jesus, of course — and pass legislation like this?
Of course, most of these things won’t happen; homophobia isn’t as widespread as the Kansas legislature perhaps thinks. But it will happen. If I were gay in Kansas, I’d leave. Let the Fuller Brush Co. hire some heterosexuals to do their advertising.
And what, exactly, is being protected here? This, the single most excruciating thing I’ve watched in a good long while. Thanks, Velvet Goldmine, for bringing it to my attention.
And with that, the last day before vacation dawns, a pretty busy one. I leave you with a recording of a weird sound that swept across St. Paul early Thursday morning — it’s oddly musical. Explanation at the link.
And finally, it turns out Michelle Obama wore a formal dress to a formal event. THE NERVE.
Happy valentine’s day! As for me, Laissez les bons temps rouler. At least it’ll be warmer.