Bills Legalizing Refusal Of Service To Gays Introduced In Idaho, Tennessee
Kansas is not alone in its quest to bring Jim Crow back from the dead. Bills that protect individuals and businesses wishing to deny service to gays have been introduced in Idaho and Tennessee.
In Idaho, state Rep. Lynn Luker says his proposal is a "preemptive" move designed to insulate bigots from progress in the rest of the country. Religious doctors and cops are specifically mentioned in the discussion surrounding the legislation, meaning if passed, persons of the LGBT community could be denied medical care or protection under the law if a provider or police responder is homophobic, without any repercussions from the state.
Luker admits he knows of no doctor or cop in Idaho who has been forced to serve a gay person against their will but insists “the issue is coming, whether it’s 10 years, or 15, or two years.”
Idaho does not currently have any non-discrimination policies inclusive of the LGBT community on the books, a fact that, combined with a lack of precedence for this proposal, has prompted the ACLU to label the bill as "a solution looking for a problem."
A measure filed by state Senator Brian Kelsey in Tennessee would also allow the legal refusal of goods and services to gays by any person or business that wishes to do so. As with the legislation working its way through Kansas' legislature, this bill leaves loopholes and allows for broad interpretations that could result in legalized widespread discrimination against the LGBT community.
Fox 13 News' report on Kelsey's bill:
Similar legislation was introduced in South Dakota in late January.