So, I live in Kansas. There some really nice things about this state, but lately politics and state governance are not part of that set.
Today, the Kansas House of Representatives passed a loathsome bill (HB 2453) that legalizes a business’ right to discriminate against a person, “if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.” Because this law now continues on to the Kansas Senate, and potentially on to the Governor, I felt compelled to write a letter to my senators and governor expressing my utter disagreement with this piece of legislation. The basic gist of that letter follows.
I am writing in opposition to House Bill 2453 – “an act concerning religious freedoms with respect to marriage” – in whatever form it takes when it comes time for you to vote on it. You must vote against this act. It is a shameful legalization of discrimination, and one that brings ridicule to the state of Kansas. It is unethical. History and our children and grandchildren will look back on this legislation – now a permanent part of who we are as Kansans, having been discussed and passed in the House – and shake their heads, wondering how we could do so much wrong, how we could be so cruel.
Much more than simple ethics, this law is also very bad economically for the State of Kansas. Not only is it a reason for individuals and businesses outside the state to choose not to do business here, common sense says that it the height of foolishness for any interested business to ignore opportunities to profit from demand for goods and services – wherever that demand may spring from.
It’s not just common sense, but economic history that bears this fact out. Bloomberg News illustrates this (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-13/the-stunning-economic-impact-of-the-civil-rights-movement.html) with research showing how the years following the Civil Rights movement and the passage of the Civil Rights Act bore demonstrable economic fruit as the result of the inclusion of minorities into the economy, as employees and as consumers. Allowing any business to use this legislation to decrease the state’s economy is just plain stupid, and very much anti-business.
The argument for this law being an effort to ensure religious freedom is simply wrong. It is a legalization of hate towards a class of people, and it is extremely damaging to the State of Kansas on many levels. This legislation must not be allowed to pass.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and to consider my opinion on this matter, as well as your role in this shameful chapter in Kansas’ history.
I don’t have much hope that this heinous bill will be put aside, given the State legislature’s recent past. However, I am confident that it will ultimately be over-turned by the Supreme Court. But until that day, I cannot sit idly by.