National Spotlight on Religious Liberty

By Richard Nelson

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February 25, 2014

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With the spate of religious liberty bills popping up in the legislatures of Tennessee, Arizona, and Kansas, outcry has arisen from the gay community about an attempt to undermine their rights, some even calling such legislation "Jim Crow" laws for homosexuals. 

What these bills illustrate is the looming conflict over religious liberty and an expansive sexual worldview that would make homosexuality a protected class. It's a clash of competing rights: The right to practice one's faith in every dimension of one's life pitted against an expansive view of sexuality that makes a sacred right out of homosexuality and transsexuality.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey has a helpful article at the Washington Post explaining the conflict and crises that religious liberty is going through these days.

Amidst the fervor, talking points, and willful misrepresentation effort made by LGBT groups, there's an important point for discussion being overlooked. In all of these states where legislation is being proposed, it is presently possible for someone to legally discriminate against gay persons. It is possible, for example, for a private business owner in Kansas to deny a gay individual service at his or her store. But that isn't happening, is it? There's no reason for a gay person to be denied a hamburger at a lunch counter. That would be deplorable. And such instances aren't happening as it is. Why, then, are individuals using hypotheticals that could be happening now as a precedent for what could happen in the future?

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center