In response to a state lawsuit against a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding (citing her “relationship” with Christ), Washington state Republicans have introduced a bill that would legalize discrimination against homosexuals based on “sincerely held” religious or philosophical beliefs.
All other forms of discrimination would remain illegal under the proposal (considering that race, religion and disability are all “protected classes” under federal law, legalizing other forms of discrimination would put the state at risk of a federal lawsuit).
One has to wonder whether the Republicans sponsoring this bill are opposed to all discrimination laws, or just the ones that “protect” homosexuals. How would they feel, for example, about a bill legalizing discrimination against Christians?
A good test of whether someone is a bigot or just a principled believer in freedom of association is whether they would support allowing discrimination against a group that they themselves belong to. (For the record, I believe it should be legal to discriminate against males, whites, atheists and people with green eyes.)
So, a question for the Republicans in Washington: Would you be willing to legalize discrimination against Christians? If yes, then congratulations–you really do believe in freedom of association. If no, then you are no different than state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (who filed the lawsuit against the florist).
Don’t get me wrong, I do support this bill–I just don’t believe it goes far enough. I also suspect that Republicans are pushing this bill more out of a hatred of homosexuals than out of a principled opposition to discrimination laws. I would love to be proven wrong on that point, though.