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What’s Not the Matter With Kansas

[ 165 ] February 17, 2014 |

In proof that sometimes even an idea as dubious as bicameralism can work, the Kansas Senate will apparently not pass the House’s recently passed LBGT Jim Crow law, at least in its current form:

Kansas Senate leaders promised Friday to dramatically change the controversial House religious freedom bill if it ever moves forward. Two major provisions are likely to be removed entirely.

They have said they would strike government employees from the bill, which now would allow private and public employees to decline to serve people based on religious views of marriage.

Kansas Chamber of Commerce president Mike O’Neal has called for employees of private businesses – included as “nonreligious” entities in the bill’s language – to be removed as well.

Evidently, the two houses of the Kansas legislature may still come together to pass a bad bill. But the provision allowing state workers to deny services to same-sex couples and related parties was by far the most odious and indefensible part of the bill, at least given the context in which gays and lesbians aren’t protected by state civil rights statutes. (The primary effect of the bill’s application to private business would have been to prevent localities where LBGT rights are more popular from enacting civil rights protections in local ordinances. I don’t know how many localities there are in Kansas where that would be a viable possibility in the near future.) If the provisions applying to non-religious businesses are taken out, even better.

If it’s surprising that the Senate controlled by the same party would immediately reject core provisions of the bill, Lowry provides the answer:

Macheers did not write the bill and said he did not know its origin. It was crafted by the American Religious Freedom Program, an organization based in Washington D.C. Similar bills are being considered in Tennessee and South Dakota.

So the bill went beyond what many members who voted for it seemed to intend — but when you’re dealing with people’s fundamental rights, that’s really not an acceptable performance.

…Gabe has more on the origins of this legislation and why the concept remains dangerous. Sullivan was very good on the implications of the proposed law.

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  1. “It was crafted by the American Religious Freedom Program, an organization based in Washington D.C.”

    ALEC, is that you?

    • Jeremy says:

      Legislators shocked to find that outsourcing the writing of legislation to outside groups of random cranks leads to shitty legislation, but don’t actually consider stopping the practice, of course.

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      The answer to this is more part-time ‘citizen legislatures’, and stiff term limits. Plus dramatic cuts in professional committee, etc. staff.

      Because that will reduce reliance on off-the-shelf legislation.

      And increase freedom!

      • TribalistMeathead says:

        Yeah, that New Hampshire sure is a nice place to live, isn’t it?

      • NonyNony says:

        I believe you mean “incrase FREEDOM!(tm)”

        • NonyNony says:

          or “incrase(tm) FREEDOM!(tm)”. Whatever.

        • Davis X. Machina says:

          The whole cult of the amateur legislature is something I can’t fathom.

          Not even in a Moneyball world if your baseball team sucks, do you go and get better, different players. You don’t replace your 40-man roster with the entire Chatham Anglers, and then bitch because you lose a hundred games.

          • Davis X. Machina says:

            for ‘do you go’, read ‘do you not go’.

            (I blame NonyNony for the elbow-typing virus.)

          • NonyNony says:

            The whole cult of the amateur legislature is something I can’t fathom.

            Picture an ideal US government. A picture of government presented to you by an 8th grade teacher whose hands were tied by local governance of the school system so that he/she could only present the most positive view of the Constitutional system that our Founding Fathers created.

            Advance the timeline a bit more – to a High School Civics/Political Science teacher whose hands were equally tied by local control who is trying to educate a group of High School students on how the US government operates so they can perhaps someday be good citizens. While said High School students are busy trying to score with their classmates. Or really do anything other than study in school.

            Realize that this is about the last bit of education about our government that most of our citizens get in this fine Republic of ours. Well, except for the “self education” that they get from the Nightly New or, perhaps, Talk Radio.

            Realize that the cult of term limits, the cult of amateur legislature, the cult of “plain English legislation”, all of it stems from that source.

            • joel hanes says:

              A picture of government presented to you

              by the assistant football coach.

              (In small districts, it has long been common practice for state-mandated civics and US government and US history courses to be taught by the coaching staff; it saves the expense of hiring someone who actually knows something about the subject matter)

              • Bill Murray says:

                maybe where you grew up, but not with any of the dozen or so small schools I am familiar with. Not that coaches didn’t sometimes end up teaching those classes, but there is no tradition of this

              • Jeremy says:

                I had the wrestling coach. Although, to be fair, we started off the year with a real civics teacher, but he was out for an extended period of time and then died of what we were told was liver disease, but it’s my understanding was complications from AIDS. My high school had an unusually sickly staff of teachers for some reason. At one point I saw some statistics for the whole citywide school system, and we were unique in the students having a higher attendance rate than the teachers.

            • Jon C. says:

              And that’s even assuming that said high school civics teacher hasn’t hung a “Ronbo” poster on his wall in utter earnestness.

          • wjts says:

            Of course you don’t – the Anglers suck. Go Y-D Sox!

          • UserGoogol says:

            There’s a very strong tendency towards the ideals of democracy and populism in America, even if we don’t achieve these goals substantively all that well. So “naturally” if you want government by the people, the best way to do that is to just get a bunch of regular people together and tell them to govern. If being a faithful representation of the people is all you need, then any professionalization of politics will just move away from that and “obviously” must lead to corruption.

            Counter to NonyNony, I don’t think this is really a matter of poor education. If people had a better understanding of how government works in practice they’d probably be less inclined to support those sorts of policies, but facts alone aren’t going to sway someone from holding part-time government up as an ideal.

            • Davis X. Machina says:

              I guess the more time you spend in actual traditional New England town meetings — and I’ve spent a lot, as a teacher in small-town rural New England — the less faith you have in that particular model of democracy.

              It doesn’t work the way it says on the tin, either.

  2. Bitter Scribe says:

    Well, it’s the gays’ fault for being so pushy in the first place and provoking the bigots.

    (Don’t laugh. I’m arguing with some libertarian asshole on another thread who’s making that exact argument, in much, much longer style.)

  3. Dana Houle says:

    I came in late (April) in 2010 to manage the campaign of the Democratic candidate for governor. Their top declared candidates had in succession dropped out, so he got in late. He worked his ass off, and utterly destroyed Brownback in what was supposed to be the first debate but ended up the only one, but it was Kansas in 2010 and everyone was fatalistic that Brownback was fated to win, so we got smoked.

    The thing to understand about Kansas is that until the last few years it’s been a three party state: New England moderate Republicans (roots in the abolitionists who helped settle the state as a free state), the Texas/Megachurch/Koch Republicans, and Democrats. Democrats have in the past actually done pretty well in gubernatorial races–from the 70′s up to Brownback Dems held the governorship more than Repubs did–but when Repubs did well it was by scooping up all the moderates. For instance, every Republican governor before Brownback was pro-choice.

    But the wingers have finally taken over. The moderate Republicans in Kansas are mostly old people in farm communities, and they’ve been dying off, or suburbanites around KC who don’t want to pay taxes except for their well-funded public schools. But when Brownback came in, his Brownbackshirts began enforcing complete party unity. The House had some moderates, but was mostly controled by the conservatives. But the Senate, while it had a Republican majority leader, was essentially run by a coalition of Republican moderates and the Democrats.

    In 2012, Brownback’s cabal, with a lot of Koch money, set out to destroy the moderates. And they did. They took out, iirc, all but one of them, including the majority leader, in the Republican primaries. So, whereas the Senate was a bit of a break on the Brownback/Koch/Fundie extremes in the House, it’s now mostly a kinder, gentler extension of the Brownback/Koch/Fundie extremes.

    One of the most under-the-radar gubernatorial races in the country is KS-GOV. Brownback’s numbers are abysmal, and Paul Davis is the kind of Dem who can be very competitive in Kansas. If the moderates finally accept their party has changed–the way New England moderates did during the 90′s and 00′s–then he has a good chance of winning. We’ll see if they end their delusions and just accept that they’ve lost the Republican party, and there won’t be a place for them in that party for decades, if ever.

    • BigHank53 says:

      Thanks for the detailed explanation. Local politics gets weird pretty quickly, even for something state-sized.

    • drwormphd says:

      When I was driving through Kansas for the first time, I was struck by how many pro-union billboards I saw. Now I now, that’s probably little more than anecdotal evidence, but it did make be think that the state may be, at least in some areas, a slighter shade of red than commonly believed.

      • Dana Houle says:

        Wichita used to have a fairly heavy union presence because of Boeing and the other Machinist-organized aerospace facilities, many of which were put there for production during WWII (far from the costs so difficult to attack, as well as lots of open sky for flying).

  4. Michael Confoy says:

    Thomas Frank had a follow up to “What is the Matter with Kansas” on Salon yesterday, http://www.salon.com/2014/02/16/the_matter_with_kansas_now_the_tea_party_the_1_percent_and_delusional_democrats/

    Traveling the entire length of Kansas, what surprised me the most is how much people sounded like they were from the south. The life of a farmer did not appear to be an easy life to me.

    • Dana Houle says:

      The problem with Frank is that Kansas never was very populist, and certainly not Dem. Kansas may have gone longer than any other state without electing a Democratic Senator, and in the 20th century I think it went Dem only for LBJ and 1 or 2 of FDR’s runs.

      A lot of the rural midwest has always been Republican, now it’s also conservative. The South was conservative, now it’s also Republican. And New England was always somewhat liberal, now it’s Democratic. Frank seems to mush all that together.

      • ThrottleJockey says:

        Yup, great points.

      • Pseudonym says:

        Have any reading recommendations that would elaborate on that history?

      • Bill Murray says:

        The problem with Frank is that Kansas never was very populist, and certainly not Dem.

        As long as you avoid the heyday of the populists in the late 19th century. Between 1891 and 1899, the Populists held one Senate seat and won 18 of 28 House elections

        Kansas may have gone longer than any other state without electing a Democratic Senator, and in the 20th century

        of course Kansas only elected 14 Senators between 1919 and 2011, 3 of whom were short term fill-ins. So quite a bit of this was as much incumbency as anything else.

        • Dana Houle says:

          Every state has incumbency. It’s extraordinary that Kansas has repeatedly elected only Republican Senators, and still does. And when most of the country has completely flip-flopped, with Repub-leaning states now mostly Dem-leaning, and Dem-leaning mostly Repub (unless, like FL/VA/NC, they’ve had big migration from the North), it’s noteworthy that about the only states that aren’t opposite of the turn of the last century are the Plains states.

          • Dana Houle says:

            Besides, populism of that sort wasn’t about changing things in Kansas as much as fighting against the control outsiders (mostly Eastern bankers and rail magnates) had over Kansas farmers. Which, really, isn’t thatfar off from the tea party.

    • Sly says:

      Because talking obsessively and exclusively about class to status-anxious white people, bound by cultural chains to their own oppressors, carefully constructed by their own oppressors, has always worked wonders before.

      To borrow a fictional line from a somewhat maligned English King, the problem with Kansas is that its filled with Kansans.

      • Aniston says:

        Yes, it’s because they’re WHITE

      • ThrottleJockey says:

        We could also say that the problem with New York is that its filled with New Yorkers, or Chicago with Chicagoans, or Texas with Texans, or Florida with Floridians, or California with Californians…or just go full on misanthropic and say the problem with America is that its filled with Americans…or we could just say that every state has its assholes & leave it at that.

        • sharculese says:

          Fun Fact: the British edition of Frank’s book was titled What’s the Matter with America.

          What’s the Matter With Florida of course, would be a five-volume set.

        • efgoldman says:

          every state has its assholes & leave it at that.

          True, but in more sensible place they don’t run he fucking asylum.

          • wjts says:

            Back in the Bad Old Bush Days, I observed that the Republicans had gone beyond having the lunatics running the asylum and the arsonists running the fire department – now, the arsonists ran the asylum and the lunatics ran the fire department. I wouldn’t have thought things could get any crazier, but here we are.

          • ThrottleJockey says:

            Name just one state where they haven’t run the asylum. Go ahead, I double dog dare ya.

            Fuck, I think Kansas did pretty well, what with, errr, Kathleen Sebelius, and, ummm, whozzat? Oh, yeah, Obama’s mama.

        • Barry says:

          “…or we could just say that every state has its assholes & leave it at that.”

          That’s not what people are talking about – they are talking about why the a-holes seem to run certain places.

          • ThrottleJockey says:

            Remind me again what state that was elected Romney. Begins with an “M”…(in)famous for not serving ice tea after Labor Day…elected a gangster’s brother as Pres of the State Senate…and also elected a Playgirl centerfold as Senator…Was that Massachusetts?

            Nah, no assholes ever ran that state…

            • efgoldman says:

              Yeah, but we knew enough to throw them out. Plus it took a while to figure out that after Weld, the GOBP were decidedly not the same as John Volpe, or Ed Brooke, or Leverett Saltonstall, or Frank Sargent, all of whom I was glad to vote for while Mittster and Cosmo Boy were still in prep school, and you were likely in diapers.
              [Also, by the time Mittster and Cosmo Boy were elected, I’d moved across the border to RI. I’m not taking any blame for those guys. Hell, I’ have vote for Coakley in spite of her awful campaign.]

        • Sly says:

          Though this oversimplifies his thesis, Frank blames the lack of progressiveness in Kansas politics on religion; more specifically, on evangelical Christianity. What this ignores is fact that non-white evangelical Christians do not vote Republican and have a much more robust sense of their own economic interests, precisely because those interests intersect with their religious identity. This is not the case, by and large, with white evangelical Christianity.

          We’re talking about a people whose religious identity was constructed to obviate class distinctions, and we’re supposed to act surprised that it works? What’s more, we’re supposed to ignore that identity and the problems it creates, and double-down on class-consciousness?

          I’m not saying that Kansas is a lost cause (or that it isn’t), I’m saying that whatever solution there is to destroy this identity, it’s not as easy as pointing out that Kansans are being fucked over economically in a patronizing manner. They know they’re being fucked over economically. They just don’t care.

          • aimai says:

            Isn’t it the case that the evangelical christian movement in the US was actually born out of segregation and in segregation–the fact that there are non white evangelical christians doesn’t change the fact that the entire southern christianist church was hand in glove with slavery and used christianity to manage slave ownership until the civil war put a stop to that. Then afterwards evangelical christianity/southern baptist churches, maintained their racial segregation as a matter of course and pride? The long term link between southern style christainity and segregation is why public schooling and integrated schooling have such a tortured history in the south and why there have always been “christian academies.”

            • Barry Freed says:

              Isn’t it the case that the evangelical christian movement in the US was actually born out of segregation

              It’s been a long while since I studied this stuff but I don’t think so. Evangelicalism in the modern US context is a complex social movement with roots in the First and Second Great Awakenings. There are left-wing strains of evangelicalism. Maybe you’re thinking of Dominionism?

              • Bill Murray says:

                I would guess aimai’s thinking of Southern Baptists and their move to politicized right wing-ness following the board takeover in 1979.

                http://www.sbctakeover.com/introduction.htm

              • ThrottleJockey says:

                Yeah, evangelical Christianity has a variety of strains, and its overlap is more coincidental than conscious. That is, a number of white Southern bigots also happened to be evangelical.

                The modern rise of the evangelical cum political movement isn’t based on historic religious beliefs so much as it is on historic political beliefs of white superiority. In fact until the ’80s most evangelicals were poor Scots-Irish–not the Southern ruling class. Most establishment Southerners were adherents of main line Protestant groups until the ’70s but left those groups as the national denominations became more liberal. With gay marriage now an issue, the exodus will no doubt continue, if not accelerate.

            • J R in WV says:

              Yes, most southern churches were firmly segregated. The Baptists broke into the Southern Baptists and the American Baptists, the Am Baptists were in favor of integration.

              I attended a wedding in Decatur, GA many years ago. My friend the Best Man was asked by one of the Methodists attending from the local neighborhood “How do you all up North keep the Negros from attending your churches up there?”

              He was dumbstruck by the question and told the fellow that he wasn’t on that committee and so didn’t know what they did.

        • Rigby Reardon says:

          we could just say that every state has its assholes & leave it at that.

          Yes, this.

    • Bitter Scribe says:

      I have always been a little annoyed with Frank’s refusal to even look at race as a contributing factor in this situation. Appealing to poor whites’ hatred of blacks has been a time-honored way to get them to vote against their economic interests.

      • Bill Murray says:

        Well, in Kansas many of the evangelicals relish in their roots in abolitionism and see the modern anti-abortion movement as a continuance of the abolition movement. So they aren’t necessarily as racist as one might think

  5. ThrottleJockey says:

    Freedom Of Religion is an awfully important principle for me actually, but if I have to pit that against Freedom From Discrimination then for me at least Freedom From Discrimination wins.

    Churches can do what they want, but if you want to get the favorable legal treatment that comes from incorporating, etc, you’re gonna have to give up something in return, and that’s the obligation to treat everyone equally.

    But frankly if conservative Christians weren’t such jackasses all the time they probably could’ve negotiated some quite favorable conscience clauses in return for gay marriage.

    • NonyNony says:

      Churches can do what they want, but if you want to get the favorable legal treatment that comes from incorporating, etc, you’re gonna have to give up something in return, and that’s the obligation to treat everyone equally.

      See, I actually disagree with this, in the sense that if anyone wanted to make it a law that the religious organizations had to treat everyone equally regardless of their beliefs as religions, I’d stand up for the churches. Are churches that discriminate awful people who believe awful things? Yes. But you can’t have the state force a church to hire people as ministers/priests/imams/whatever and still have a separation of church and state.

      Where these conservative Christians fall down is in this desire to declare themselves all Churches, so that they can all be as hateful as they want to be and have it legally protected as religious expression. That isn’t going to work – if anything it’s a way to end the protected status of Churches int he long run.

      • ThrottleJockey says:

        Sorry, Nony, I didn’t mean if churches wanted to incorporate, I meant to say if you wanted to operate a business then you have to give up some religious freedom…If some Christian businessman didn’t want to sell cakes, for instance, to Muslims that should be patently illegal.

        • efgoldman says:

          I meant to say if you wanted to operate a business then you have to give up some religious freedom

          This was supposedly solved almost 50 years ago, wunnit?

          The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States[4] that outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.[5] It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as “public accommodations”).
          Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 at the White House.

        • Spencer McGowan says:

          If some Christian businessman didn’t want to sell cakes, for instance, to Muslims that should be patently illegal.

          Sooo….you can practice your religion as long as you don’t actually practice your religion in real life.

          Freedom!

      • Snarki, child of Loki says:

        Well, sure.

        The International House of Pancakes is totally a main-line religion.

        They totally have the right to discriminate against the Wafflearian Heresy, but choose to be more syncretic.

      • BigHank53 says:

        Yeah, there seems to be this weird disconnect where they don’t grasp that the inside of their church and the rest of the world are, legally speaking, two different things and operate under different rules.

        The only argument I’ve ever used with any success is the bacon metaphor: some Jews and Muslims are forbidden from eating pork. But it’s their job to not buy the bacon, not take it home, and not cook and eat it. They don’t get to be lazy and make the rest of us follow their dietary rules in order to never be confronted with the uncleanliness of bacon. And if you think gay marriage needs to be banned because you might marry someone of the wrong gender by accident, you’ve got a pretty low opinion of your impulse control.

        • NonyNony says:

          where they don’t grasp that the inside of their church and the rest of the world are, legally speaking, two different things and operate under different rules.

          You are so charitable. I’d phrase it as “they’re upset about the fact that the inside of their church and the rest of the world are, legally speaking, two different things and operate under different rules.”

          And I think the key word there is “different”. They really seem to hate the fact that people and things different from them exist. They are normal, other people who aren’t like them are weird and different. They’re mad about the fact that “normal” is shifting to mean “not exactly like me” and they’re lashing out in any way that they can to make it all stop.

          Kind of pathetic, really. I’d feel sorry for them if, you know, their lashing out wasn’t so harmful and destructive.

          if you think gay marriage needs to be banned because you might marry someone of the wrong gender by accident, you’ve got a pretty low opinion of your impulse control.

          And actually I think there are some in this boat. Some who really do think that the gay sex is probably secretly really great sex. And that’s so tempting they want society to make it illegal because otherwise they’ll be way too tempted by the gay sex.

          You wonder if the only thing keeping them off smack is the fact that it’s illegal. Or if the only thing keeping them from gunning down a parking lot of unarmed people is the fact that murder is still illegal (actually events in Florida are making me think that there might be some truth to that second one…)

        • Snarki, child of Loki says:

          “.. if you think gay marriage needs to be banned because you might marry someone of the wrong gender by accident, you’ve got a pretty low opinion of your impulse control.”

          Perhaps there’s a correlation with people who get drunk in Vegas and wind up at the Elvis Wedding Chapel?

          Because I could see someone saying “Oooo, that didn’t work out so well last time, better be extra careful”

        • Hogan says:

          “It just happened, Joe. It . . . ”

          “Sure, sure, I know . . . it just happened. Coulda happened to anybody. It was an accident, right? You tripped, slipped on the floor and accidentally stuck your dick in my wife. ‘Whoops! I’m so sorry, Mrs. H. I guess this just isn’t my week.’”

        • So-in-so says:

          First, many of them hate the separation clause. See all the related chatter about how America is a “Chirstian” nation, and the separation clause was really to keep government out of the church, not the other way around.

          Second, they are very sure that theirs is the only “real” religion, so once they bypass seperation theirs will be the state religion. Obviously you wouldn’t have one of those icky fake religions, see the freak out over the idea that President Obama is really a Muslim.

          • sharculese says:

            Also too, a great many of them reject incorporation of the First Amendment, at least in relation to the religion clauses and insist that it runs absolutely counter to everything this nation stands for.

            Reinforcing that idea is a huge portion of David Barton’s ‘scholarship.’

          • Pseudonym says:

            Isn’t pretty much everyone who believes in a religion pretty sure that it’s the “real” one? And the only real one, inasmuch as others contradict it?

        • Jay C says:

          where they don’t grasp that the inside of their church and the rest of the world are, legally speaking, two different things and operate under different rules.

          Oh, I’m sure a lot of activist Christianists grasp the idea quite well: it’s just that too many of them seem to operate on the fundamental assumption that said legal differentiation is a bad thing (because The Bible and Morality and Decency and Jesus Said So, So Shut Up!), and orient their political actions accordingly.

      • Tom Servo says:

        Hold on. If we’re only talking about the church as the house of worship, I agree. But what if the church opens a hospital? I don’t believe in exceptions to employee discrimination laws. You can’t not hire someone as an orderly in your Catholic hospital because they’re gay or a Jew. I can’t agree with that.

        • NonyNony says:

          I agree with that. Churches should actually not be allowed to directly run non-profit charitable institutions and expect those institutions to receive both the tax privileges and protections of being non-profit corporations AND the privileges of being churches. Once they start serving the general public, they have to conform to the employment and anti-discrimination laws that everyone else does.

          But I’d still say that the church itself is allowed to dictate that, say, its music director must be a practicing member of the church. And I’m pretty sure that both of these things are how the Federal employment laws work wrt churches as non-profits (though IANAL).

          • efgoldman says:

            But I’d still say that the church itself is allowed to dictate that, say, its music director must be a practicing member of the church.

            I’ve seen it work both ways. The more conservative churches do that (or take the choir and director from the membership – essentially the same thing.) More liberal denominations usually don’t care; traditionally what they want s someone good, and cheap.

    • DrDick says:

      Freedom of religion, as framed by the founders, really comes down to freedom from religion. Ultimately what they enacted was a principle that no one could force you to abide by the principles of their religion. That is why granting rights to gays and others is the central freedom of religion issue.

  6. Shakezula says:

    So they’ve recognized that the bill is indeed a flaming sack of shit, but they’re still carrying it around asking if there is any way to make the flaming sack of shit less flamey or shitty.

    I don’t call this an improvement.

    • LeeEsq says:

      Politics is often ugly even when your trying to do something good. Small-d democratic politics is giant fight in a lot of cases unless your Sweden, Denmark, Norway, or Finland. In this case, the politicians of Kansas aren’t and that makes things much uglier.

    • efgoldman says:

      So they’ve recognized that the bill is indeed a flaming sack of shit

      Not only that, but as we noted last week from the original story, they know it’s going to be shitcanned in any court challenge but they passed it anyway.

      • Snarki, child of Loki says:

        That’s the “Here, catch!” method of dealing with the flaming bag of shit.

        • Shakezula says:

          While the rest of your fellow numbnuts jump around shouting “Over here, I’m open!”

          I guess the judicial axe will give rise to whining about Activist Judges and allow for fundraising, but it is ugly and throwing a sheet on which they’ve scrawled “Religus Freedum” over the bigotry doesn’t make it more acceptable.

          • Schadenboner says:

            And the cravenness of it all is, ultimately, what pisses me off so much about these asinine laws. They’re dead letters, everyone involved in the transaction knows they’re dead letters. This law will survive exactly 30 seconds before each and every judge with jurisdiction throws the state’s lawyers out the courtroom doors by their suspenders, rhetorically speaking.

            • Jon C. says:

              Craven, hell, if there were any justice every representative who voted for it would be convicted of perjury.

              Article 15 – Oaths – § 14 – Oaths of state officers

              All state officers before entering upon their respective duties shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state , and faithfully to discharge the duties of their respective offices.

              • sharculese says:

                I kind of disagree, here. When the other two branches believe the court is getting a point of Constitutional interpretation wrong, adopting legislation that forces the question is absolutely in keeping with their duties.

                Of course, under current doctrine, their arguments are clearly farcical. But the same thing was true when Randy Barnett invented the broccoli mandate, and look where that got him.

                • Jon C. says:

                  And at the end of the day, I don’t think voting for obviously unconstitutional legislation amounts to perjury in a legal sense — in a moral sense, though, absolutely.

                  Absolutely legislators have their own independent constitutional authority and responsibilities. But if they want to force the question, they should be held to a higher standard than passing such a facially arbitrary set of rules. And of course they can always (as Scalia might say) try to change the damn constitution.

        • Gabriel Ratchet says:

          “Hold mah beer an’ watch me legislate!”

      • Chris J says:

        Maybe that’s the point. They get credit for the gesture but don’t have to live with the results.

        • Shakezula says:

          As with 99% of Republican legislation, this isn’t a bad bet, but for people who are the punching bag du jour it will make life incredibly stressful. Look at what happened with Prop 8 in California. That was a really long time to not know whether you were legally married or not.

          And even if the bill never makes it to the Governor’s desk, it stirs up hostility towards gay people.

          The Republicans’ willingness to debate laws that will hurt people is what takes their behavior from obnoxious grandstanding to psychotic.

  7. Gwen says:

    I’m curious to know exactly how one determines who is gay or not.

    There are many fundamental problems with this bill, but one we may not talk about, is that it’s only a matter of time before a flamboyantly straight person gets discriminated against “accidentally” by some bigoted busy-body.

    Won’t someone please think of all the fabulous heterosexuals?

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      I’m curious to know exactly how one determines who is gay or not.

      No point in reinventing the wheel.

      We just use the process used in Florida to determine who feels threatened or not.

      • efgoldman says:

        We just use the process used in Florida to determine who feels threatened or not.

        But the proposed KS law doesn’t say we can shoot ‘em, only that we can refuse to sell ‘em a tank of gas or a bottle of water.
        Although maybe we shouldn’t go giving the KS House any ideas….

        • BigHank53 says:

          Actually, if the thing passes I think some smartass in Topeka will make the point by accusing a legislator of being gay and tossing him/her out. And there won’t be goddamn thing the legislator can do, since there’s no definition of gayness in the law. If the proprietor’s gaydar goes off, no matter how badly calibrated it is, they skate and the accused gets to find another place to eat/sleep/rent.

          This stupid law is just begging to be hacked.

          • Snarki, child of Loki says:

            It’s even MORE FUN with paramedics that have a miscalibrated gaydar.

            • Barry says:

              ” And there won’t be goddamn thing the legislator can do, since there’s no definition of gayness in the law. ”

              Nah, just like Florida Stand Your Ground cases tend to lead to, ah…………shaded verdicts.

              Somebody tosses out a Tea Party guy, and he’ll sue, claiming religious discrimination, under the Civil Rights Act.

      • aimai says:

        I think you throw them in water and see if they float. Or maybe that is witches.

    • efgoldman says:

      I’m curious to know exactly how one determines who is gay or not.

      Hey, pin-on pink triangles worked before.
      Just sayin’…..

    • Bill Murray says:

      well if one is male, and you look at another male and “it” moves, the person causing it to move is gay. This is the Constanza-Cartman (C-C)rule of thumb

  8. MAJeff says:

    The “in its present form” is central. They want to tweak it to “protect” some bigots, just not all of them. It’s the kinder, gentler Kansas.

  9. JL says:

    I don’t know how many localities Kansas has that would pass LGBTQ civil rights ordinances, but stopping them from doing so would be potentially really damaging. Based on my conversations with state-level LGBTQ advocacy groups, getting local ordinances passed in friendly localities is essential for eventually getting a statewide law, to the extent that there haven’t been any states to get a statewide law without getting an ordinance in a major city in that state first. The local ordinance campaigns build an activist base, and the fact that the sky doesn’t fall when the local ordinance takes effect helps convince fence-sitters in other parts of the state.

    • MAJeff says:

      I don’t know how many localities Kansas has that would pass LGBTQ civil rights ordinances, but stopping them from doing so would be potentially really damaging.

      And unconstitutional. See Romer v. Evans

  10. Gozer says:

    Only locality I can think of in KS that would pass LGBTQ rights ordinances is Lawrence. And from what I’ve learned from going to KU in the late 90s-early00s is that the rest of KS lives to fuck with the hippies in Lawrence and the ni-clangs in Wyandotte Co (ie. Kansas City, KS).

  11. DrDick says:

    I have to say that if your bigotted Xtianist legislation is too extreme for Kansas, you have really achieved true excellence in legal spite.

  12. Tom Servo says:

    This entire bill is indefensible. I would ask to see proof of “straightness” of every member of the legislature who voted for this, if I ran a business.

  13. Bloix says:

    Don’t have any illusions that this is because Kansas state senators have a commitment to equal rights. The bill failed because it would have created problems for employers:

    “Opponents included the Kansas Chamber of Commerce [which] took particular exception to a provision in the bill that said that if an employee of the government or ‘other nonreligious entity’ objected to providing a service based on religious beliefs, the employer would have to find another employee to fill in or find some other way to provide the service.

    “Businesses were ‘not interested in getting into these guessing games as to someone’s intent and whether a strongly held religious belief is legitimate or not,’ said Mike O’Neal, the president of the chamber.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/17/us/politics/in-kansas-right-joins-left-to-halt-bill-on-gays.html

  14. Anonymous says:

    From all the posts lately, it appears that allowing states to craft their own laws that affects only their own citizens by elected officials through a democratic process really pisses off the contemporary liberal.

    • MAJeff says:

      Remember folks, according to conservatives, oppressing LGBT people doesn’t affect citizens.

    • The Founding Fathers says:

      What part of ‘supreme law of the land’ is difficult for you?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      From all the posts lately, it appears that allowing states to craft their own laws that affects only their own citizens by elected officials through a democratic process really pisses off the contemporary liberal.

      Now, now, he’s got us here; I can’t imagine Republicans mounting constant challenges to the ACA, let alone 5 Republican-appointed justices endorsing frivolous arguments that it exceeds the federal commerce power.

      • Anonymous says:

        On one hand, you certainly hate the Southern and Western states.

        On the other hand you post constantly about how terrible it was when they wished to secede and you had to spend 500,000 to 800,000 lives and destroy most of the country keeping them in the club.

    • Shakezula says:

      Yep. That’s why when Maryland’s legislature passed an equal marriage law, Conservatives insisted that it be put to the vote.

    • Malaclypse says:

      Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

      But he’d totally be at home in the modern Republican Party.

    • aimai says:

      But it doesn’t “affect only its own citizens.” Is there some provision in the law that renders this law inapplicable to people driving through the state from other states? Since it applies to state actors like public employees does it mean that a police officer can refuse to take a statement or protect a gay citizen of Kansas but faithfully perform his duties when it comes to the gay Kansas guy’s boyfriend who is visiting? Where is full faith and credit when you need it?

      • efgoldman says:

        Damn, aimai, I love you like a sister, but you have to learn not to keep falling into the “logic” trap.
        A TeaHadi legislature, by definition, is all the way through the looking glass, and will have none of our ‘logic,” or “facts,” or “math,” all of which have a strong liberal bias, you know.

  15. [...] wielding it). •A Time-Warner shareholder is suing to stop the Time-Warner/Comcast merger. •LGM on the Kansas “government can discriminate against gays” bill. Share [...]

  16. Joe says:

    Andrew Sullivan talks about the “Christianity” of the law.

    I think his conclusion that it is not Christian sensible but there was something familiar about the debate. Paul in Galatians wrote how Peter stopped eating with Gentiles after James criticized him. That is, there WAS an early practice of some followers of “Christ” not associating with ‘immoral’ people.

    Of course, we are talking about public businesses here, not just private conduct. But, ultimately, Sullivan is making a religious argument, which continues simply to not convince some.

  17. MAJeff says:

    Still won’t fuck you.

  18. MAJeff says:

    stalker troll is stalking

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