Bad bill stalled

Kansas, Arizona avoid catastrophic ‘religious freedom’ legislation, for now; Missouri unwisely weighing same idea

| Staff Editorial |

Again, some of Kansas’ lawmakers have found a way to put the state to shame with a proposal that is so bad it’s appalling that it was ever brought up.
Even if one doesn’t care a whit about same-sex marriage, it should be cause for outrage, both here and in Missouri and Arizona, where similar measures are under consideration.
For now, the few reasonably sane elected officials we have left in Kansas’ government have given pause to this hateful trash, sorrowfully cloaked as a matter of faith.
They actually passed it in Arizona, but now Gov. Jan Brewer has seen sense and used her veto pen on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
A bill was introduced in Missouri on Monday, Feb. 24, because apparently national outrage is attractive in Jefferson City.
All three bills take to a new extreme the same-old, tired argument that if someone has an unconventional sexual orientation, they are an affront to Christian and similar religious teachings.
They use the notion to try to award the right to mistreat, scrutinize and shame homosexual people in almost every sort of public life.
As long as the reason for this conduct can be said to be “religious conviction,” punishments and civil judgments in favor of the victims will be hard to come by under the bills’ terms.
Led by Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, president of the Kansas Senate, many of our legislators have concerted doubts about this idea, even those who otherwise are skeptical about the issue of marriage equality. That, more than anything, shows how bad the bill is.
“A strong majority of (Kansas senators) support laws that define traditional marriage, protect religious institutions and protect individuals from being forced to violate their personal moral values,” Wagle said in an interview with The Wichita Eagle. “However, my members also don’t condone discrimination. If we cannot find ample common ground to ease legitimate concerns, I believe a majority of my caucus will not support the bill.”
As a Republican leader in Kansas, Wagle has to tread carefully, lest the state’s powerful special interests and legion of Topeka morons will demand her head.
Still, this proposal is so awful that she should be relatively safe in keeping it in legislative limbo.
Let there also be no doubt that the whole concept is tainted; some have said that it can work with a few “revisions. No, we must draw the line. The idea that religion can ever justify hatred needs to be checked now.
As we noted in another editorial that was published recently in The Collegio, progress on the issue of same-sex civil rights is happening now and will inevitably continue nationwide.
Let us try not to destroy all sense of decency before that happens here.

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