Main | Monday, December 08, 2014

MICHIGAN: GOP-Dominated State House OK's Anti-Gay "Religious Freedom" Bill

It's Arizona all over again. MSNBC reports:
Michigan’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives has passed a controversial religious freedom bill, teeing up what civil liberties advocates fear will be another wave of GOP-backed legislation that could cripple LGBT rights. The bill, HB 5958, zipped through the House Judiciary Committee Thursday morning and then the full chamber on a 59-50 party-line vote – all in one day. It now heads to the Republican-controlled state Senate for consideration, and then to the desk of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

While [House Speaker Jase] Bolger insists the bill is meant to protect, say, the Muslim butcher who wants to prepare food in line with halal practices, or the Jewish mother who doesn’t want an autopsy performed on her son, civil liberties advocates warn it could be used as a defense for the landlord who wants to evict a gay tenant, or the pharmacist who doesn’t want to provide birth control, all because of sincerely held religious beliefs.

In some of the ugliest scenarios, critics say the measure could allow Catholic-owned hospitals to refuse admittance to people who need a procedure that violates the institution’s religious directives, such as a pre-viability pregnancy termination in the case of a miscarriage. In another instance, opponents foresee the bill being cited as a legal defense in domestic violence cases. “In many religions, it’s OK for a man to beat his wife,” Brooke Tucker, staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, told msnbc. “Based on language in this bill, all he has to say is my religion allows me to do this.”
Bolger's Wikipedia page reads as though it was self-written.

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