Every time a law expanding the rights of LGBT Americans passes, there are always wingnuts screaming about how they don’t want to be forced to do business with
black people LGBT people, and how if you force them to, you are thus violating their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” It’s crap, as it always is. There’s a dead-end bill in Washington state right now, SB 5927, which would actually change the law to allow anti-gay Christians to refuse to sell to people who violate their beliefs in some way. Again, it’s not going anywhere, but it’s insane that these people actually think this is something they’re guaranteed by the Constitution. The sponsor is Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, and a funny thing happened when a Seattle gay activist called his office to comment on the bill:
When Slog reader Jay Castro called state senator Mike Hewitt’s (R-Walla Walla) office this morning to ask about Senator Hewitt’s co-sponsorship of SB 5927, a bill that would amend our anti-discrimination laws to allow people to discriminate against gays and lesbians because of their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” Castro says he was hit with a surprising response: Gay people should be prepared to fend for themselves.
Castro’s aware that this bill isn’t likely to pass but he tells me, “Regardless of if it’s just a publicity stunt, it’s my livelihood and my life that’s on the line.” He added: “I fought very hard for gay rights in Spokane in the ’90s, as a kid,” and he was horrified to wake up to headlines about this bill. So he spent his morning calling its sponsors to let them know. During the phone calls, he says he asked staffers some variation of the question “What are rural gays supposed to do if the only gas station or grocery store for miles won’t sell them gas and food?”
Castro says the staffer at Hewitt’s office surprised him with the answer “Well, gay people can just grow their own food.”
Just go back to the land, you gays! It’s frightening that there still exist Americans who think like that. It’s also one of the greatest arguments for the fact that, when it comes to rights, the federal government sometimes simply has to step in and pull the citizenry forward, kicking and screaming if they have to. I mean, Mississippi just got around to ratifying the 13th Amendment. Despite what our conservative brethren say, there are just some things that the free market does not work out.
[shirtless farmer, who totally made you click on this post, from 2010 Switzerland’s Sexiest Farmers, via Queerty]