Spurred by recent victories on the marriage equality front over the last year, anti-LGBT legislators are scrambling for new ways to hold equality back. Kansas, South Dakota, Idaho and Tennessee are discussing bills that would allow private businesses and government workers to deny services to same-sex couples if doing so would violate their personal religious beliefs.
“It is hard to put into words just how frustrating, disappointing and embarrassing I find this new wave of so-called religious exemption legislation,” Judy Shepard, President and Co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation said. “As a person of faith, I was raised to value the inherent dignity of all people, to accept and love my neighbors. To use religious beliefs as an excuse for institutionalizing discrimination is counter-intuitive at best and downright evil at worst. I pray that common sense prevails.”
A Tennessee committee seems to have put an end to their proposal, but these kinds of bills represent an attack to the hard-won rights that our community has gained over the last 40 years and we cannot sit idly by while they continue.