Texas State Sen. Pushes For Constitutional Amendment To Discriminate Against Gays
When does one person’s right to observe the tenets of their religion end and the rights of another to live as they wish begin?
That’s a question we’ll be asking ourselves more and more as the newly powerful right-wing moves into its new position dominating both the House and Senate in Washington and into similar power in state legislatures across the country. Nowhere have the lines of that dichotomy been drawn clearer than in Texas where Republican extremist, State Senator Donna Campbell is proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to discriminate on the basis of a religious belief.
“License to discriminate.”
Conservatives began drafting such legislation in the wake of court decisions against businesses who discriminated against LGBT clients like the Sweet Cakes bakery in Colorado which famously closed its doors rather than provide a cake for a gay wedding They’ve been further emboldened by the US Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision allowing a corporation to use religious beliefs as a rational to refuse health coverage that includes contraception.
Proponents of the measure have been focusing on its LBGT application but if it moves forward, it could have implications that far exceed that scope. If the provision allows people to ignore the law in discriminating against people for their sexual orientation, what is to prevent others from ignoring other laws because they infringe upon other religious beliefs? Could Mormons resurrect the practice of polygamy? Could Rastafarians openly flout prohibition of Marijuana? Other religions have used peyote and hallucinogenic mushrooms in their practices. Are these to be condoned as well?
Where does it end? Ritual human sacrifice? Cannibalism? Abortion? Virtually any human activity can find a historical justification in religion at some point. We might even find some of those rationalizations for ignoring a law to be valid. But when one person’s rights to act or not act begins to infringe upon the rights of another that is where the line must be drawn.
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