OPINION: Faux Religious Protection Bill

On Thursday March 7, the Kentucky Senate passed Bill HB-279 with a 29-6 vote. This bill only applies state protection for a federal law, according to Representative Robert Damron (District 39). However, the bill is not only redundant, it is dangerous.

The state of Kentucky could fall into a mass of legal challenges and other issues as many groups like the Kentucky ACLU and social service workers feel that the bill will hinder services like mental health care, foster care, and adoption. Another issue raised was that the bill will possibly be counterproductive to the current bans on discrimination against the LGBT community, as it could open the door for groups to discriminate against them, using the reason of their religion.

Any state legislation that threatens the legal protections and freedoms of Louisville’s citizens needs to be thoroughly dissected. The bill hides behind a veil of “religious freedom” but in reality is opening the door for different forms of oppression. And it is not only the gay community but also against other religions or groups / communities that have practices that can be considered “offending” to people due to a religious belief they hold.

If the reasoning for this bill being passed is only to protect laws that are already in place, and the consequences include multiple legal ramifications as well as jeopardization of the safety of the minorities in our state, then this bill cannot pass. As Senator Perry Clark (District 37) told The Courier-Journal, “I kind of like what’s in the constitution. I think it is adequate protection for us.”

How a bill that can place any percentage of our state’s citizens at risk for discrimination could be passed is beyond me. Protection of our religious liberty is not an issue prevalent to Kentucky, but protecting our citizens is something to always keep first and foremost.