KY Bill To Grant Religious Exemptions For LGBT Rights Laws Advances
The Kentucky Religious Freedom Act, which activists claim would allow citizens to disobey LGBT anti-discrimination laws, was passed 9-2 yesterday by the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
Opponents say it could let business owners and other individuals defy state and local civil-rights laws, including those in four Kentucky cities that prohibit anti-gay discrimination. Without those civil-rights protections, we fear the worst,” Derek Selznick of the ACLU said earlier this week. He said the bill could invite legal challenges to local gay-rights laws and statewide civil-rights protections for such groups as racial minorities and women.The bill forbids governmental bodies from assessing "penalties or fines" when laws are broken on the basis of "religious convictions." The Catholic Conference of Kentucky is one of the bill's supporters.
ACLU attorney William Sharp testified Wednesday that the bill creates an impermissible risk. “For example, there are those in in Kentucky who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds,” he said. And Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said Wednesday that he has serious concerns about the bill, particularly because it appears to be on a fast track.