~~January 28, 2015~~
States fight to push anti-gay bills. But will they pass?
By Adam Serwer
The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage set off a chain reaction of federal judges ruling state bans on same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional. But at the same time that same-sex marriage rights appear to be advancing, conservative legislators in more than a dozen states have been pushing for exceptions that would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in the name of religious freedom.
“Religious freedom is a shield, not a sword,” says Nick Worner of the Ohio ACLU, paraphrasing George H.W. Bush appointed federal Judge Carol Jackson. “It’s not religious freedom when you’re using it to hurt someone else.”
“As it appears in …. full read”
~”Religious Liberty” Activists Fight Back~
People across the country banded together last year to protest SB 1062, a law proposed in Arizona, which would have allowed businesses and employees to refuse service to LGBT people or others who offend their religious sensibilities. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill after receiving immense pressure, but in Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a similar one into law in April.
Conservatives have vowed to continue the push for such “religious liberty” laws in other states. So far in 2015, at least five of these bills are on the American Civil Liberties Union’s radar: Texas’s and South Carolina’s legislatures are eyeing bills that would prohibit government employees from recognizing a same-sex couple’s relationship (through marriage licenses, mostly).
Bills in Virginia, Georgia, and Utah would allow individual state employees to decided whether they want to participate in same-sex marriages. As the ACLU has put it, these laws are largely a reaction or backlash toward LGBT gains, like marriage equality, in those states and nationally.
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