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Required Reading: Kansas House Passes Anti-Gay Legislation

gay-rightsIf you haven’t heard the news, the Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would give business owners the right to refuse services to individuals they believe are gay:

The Kansas House has approved a bill aimed at keeping individuals, groups and businesses from being compelled to help with same-sex weddings.

The House’s 72-49 vote Wednesday sends HB 2453 to the Senate.

Supporters describe it as a religious freedom measure. Opponents contend it will encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The bill would bar government sanctions when individuals, groups and businesses cite religious beliefs in refusing to recognize a marriage or civil union, or to provide goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to a couple. Anti-discrimination lawsuits also would be barred. Individual workers and government employees also would get some protections.

The bill covers private and public employees. Government agencies would still be required to provide services, but individual clerks could refuse to serve same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs on marriage.

Andrew Sullivan has written an incredible response to the passing of the bill, which you should absolutely read. Above and beyond the irony of its justification, Sullivan thinks the bill spells trouble for the Republican Party in general:

If I am confident that this law is, in fact, a huge miscalculation by the far right, I do not mean to discount the very real intimidation and fear that many gay Kansans and their friends and families are experiencing right now. It’s appalling that any government should seek to place itself institutionally hostile to an entire segment of society. But in civil rights movements, acts of intemperate backlash are also opportunities. If this bill becomes law, and gay couples are fired or turned away from hotels or shown the door at restaurants and denied any recourse to the courts, the setback to the anti-gay movement could be severe, even fatal.

This is about Kansas, but it is also about the Republican party. Are there any Republicans willing to oppose this new strategy? Do the GOP’s national leaders support it? As for Democrats and the left more generally, they are lucky in their enemies.

Be sure to read the entire thing. For me, the most important part comes in the middle, where Sullivan rallies against the apparently Christian rationale for the bill’s existence: “As for the allegedly Christian nature of this legislation, let’s not mince words. This is the inversion of Christianity.”

That’s 100% on the mark. And among Christians who have any kind of sense in them, I think it’s important to rally against this idiotic perception that Christianity must be anti-gay. The opposite is the case. If Christians hope to realize the good news they so passionately believe in, they’re going to have to start seeing past sexuality. Or, better yet, accepting it.