While many states in the United States of America are debating whether to allow same sex couples to get formally married or not, in Kansas, that is not even on the drawing board. Bill 2453 passed through the Republican-led legislature a few days ago upholding the right of businesses to refuse to serve gay people in general if they are doing so on the basis that it violates their religious beliefs. As you might imagine, the bill that is now a law on the books has caught a lot of outrage and interest across the nation. Common Sense Conspiracy wants to take a moment to analyze the different facets of this law and what it means to all of us.
First of all, it is not an uncommon practice for businesses to have far-reaching authority to decide who it serves and doesn’t with little risk of consequence. A business owner can refuse to serve any person for any reason at all in most states. However, some laws were created to reduce the application of this benefit as an agent of all-out discrimination. What that means is that it is legal for a business owner to refuse to serve anyone. It is not legal for that same business owner to exclude large segments of the population based on things like race. The gray area that is being presented in the Kansas issue is whether it is okay to ban an entire segment of the population if you are doing so because their actions do not conform to your religious beliefs. It is not so much a gray area as it is a gay area. The law basically provides that ability for a Christian business owner to kick out same sex couples because their patronizing the establishment somehow causes their religious principles to be compromised.
The argument from those on the gay rights side is obvious. We won’t spend a lot of time on that one. It’s pretty easy to see how they can make out a case of discrimination here, and it’s pretty easy to see why it’s hard to believe a business that is trying to make money would not want to accept the business of an ever-growing area of their customer base. It’s also pretty easy to see that Christians are not any more condemned by serving a same sex couple in a restaurant or other industry than they would be if they were in a mall and a same sex couple walked by holding hands. It would be one thing if the same sex couple was engaging in a gay sex act on their table, but then, really, the gay doesn’t even apply. Christians as well as all business owners should probably frown on sex acts of all types of customers (unless of course they are running a strip joint or whorehouse).
On the other side of the fence, many that support this law try to make it not an issue of discriminating against same sex couples, but an issue of a business owner’s personal sovereignty. He should be able to control his own environment is the battle cry there. He should, at the very least, have the right to decide who he extends his business’ services to. We at Common Sense Conspiracy tend to agree with this autonomous type of independence. We generally think that the law and the government should not be telling business owner X what to do. However, businesses in Kansas are not as autonomous as it might seem at first glance. Without tons of city services, the business could not operate. By using the utilities, roads, emergency services, tax breaks and incentives…the list goes on and on… the business uses public services to supply its service. So do they have the right to totally pick and choose who they serve when they use all of these things to make it possible?
It’s a gray area, but let’s call a spade a spade on this one. The law is not preserving anyone’s religious rights. It is preserving the right to kick gay people out of their establishments. And no matter how you might feel about the homosexual lifestyle in general, most Americans probably can see how that’s wrong.
What do you think? Do business owners’ rights in America go so far as to include the ability to discriminate at will? Is being a Christian a good reason to be able to exclude segments of the population from your activities? We want to hear your opinions.