I hesitate to report this, for fear of giving Arkansas Republicans any ideas. Nonetheless:
Kansas is in the process of approving legislation that allows businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples.
It’s pitched as a religious freedom bill. It’s nothing but old-style discrimination of the sort outlawed by the public accommodations act, at least against racial minorities.
It reads, in part: “No individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender:
“Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.”
Anyone who turns away a gay couple not only can’t face a civil suit, but if anyone tries to sue, they could get nailed with the other side’s legal fees.
I can’t imagine this ultimately would withstand constitutional scrutiny, but with the Roberts Supreme Court, you just never know.
PS — Also Tennessee.
UPDATE: Meet an Arkansas couple, from Vilonia, that could feel the lash of such legislation. They and children look like an otherwise happy lot, but for the discrimination all around them. It’s a good story about one couple’s relationship and the obstacles they face because they cannot legally marry in Arkansas.