The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on gay marriage in June, but some Washington lawmakers are unable to get past gay people existing, never mind getting married. State Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick introduced a proposed law that would allow businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. This Associated Press story gives more details. One step forward, two steps back.
One of Brown’s constituents is the Richland florist facing state legal action for refusing wedding-related services to a gay couple. This is constituent service at its most extreme and its most repugnant.
Senate Bill 5927 isn’t likely to pick up steam in the Washington Legislature’s special session that starts May 13. But if it did it would seek to supersede protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation codified in state law in 2006.
Still just knowing the bill was introduced last Friday and not immediately booed into oblivion by senators rankles.
Not that there wasn’t swift outrage.
“I haven’t seen a law this backwards and mean-spirited since before the civil rights victories of the 1960s,” said Sen, Jeanne Kohl-Welles in an email blast. “This bill is a license to discriminate.”
It is also an effort beneath the Senate Republican majority which promised to focus on jobs, education and state spending. No jobs would be created by alienating gay consumers. Indeed, one would expect quite a few to be lost.
Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, told the Associated Press he hopes the bill sparks a discussion. Indeed it should. The conversation should explore why more than 200 years later some still don’t understand that all people are created equal.