Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer saved her state a world of embarrassment and economic consequences last week when she vetoed a wrongheaded bill that cloaked raw bigotry in the robes of religious freedom. It would have allowed business owners to deny services to gay people in furtherance of a “sincerely held religious belief.”
http://RFRAperils.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/RFRA-perils-logo-smaller.jpg 0 0 admin http://RFRAperils.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/RFRA-perils-logo-smaller.jpg admin2014-03-03 22:57:042014-03-03 22:57:04Don't flirt with discrimination
The government’s legitimate role is not to promote religious beliefs, “sincerely held” or otherwise. It’s to enforce civil rights.
Someone needs to notify Pennsylvania state Rep. Gordon Denlinger, a Lancaster Republican, who plans to introduce what he calls the “Freedom of Conscience Amendment.”
Seeking support from colleagues, he wrote: “Specifically, I plan to propose a new section in Article I – the Pennsylvania ‘bill of rights’ – that will prohibit government from punishing an individual or entity if the individual or entity makes hiring or other employment decisions, or provides services, accommodations (including housing accommodations), advantages, facilities, goods or privileges based on sincerely held beliefs.”
In other words, it would be fine for anyone with “sincerely held beliefs” to ignore the civil rights laws of the United States relative to housing or employment discrimination or other matters.
Actually, like Arizona, Pennsylvania has no law specifically outlawing that very sort of discrimination.
Bills to outlaw that discrimination are pending, with wide bipartisan support, including from Gov. Tom Corbett. They specifically would make it illegal in Pennsylvania to engage in discrimination in housing, employment and other matters based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identification.
Lawmakers should pass those bills and leave Mr. Denlinger’s idea on the vine to die.