Maria Rovito
Opinion Editor

If you thought that Russia’s anti-gay policies were horrific, monstrous, and outdated, you might want to look at the status of our own backyard here in the US.
On February 13, 2014, Kansas became the first state to legalize the segregation of gay and straight people in virtually every area of life.
If that seems drastic, look at the bill itself. When passed, the law would allow employers to fire gay employees based on their sexuality. Any business can deny service to LGBT couples if “it would be contradictory to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and movie theaters can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Basically, it would legalize discrimination against the LGBT community.
This is only the beginning of Kansas’ hate-fueled horror show. If an LGBT couple sues for discrimination, not only will they lose, but they’ll also be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney fees. The law also permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” If a gay couple calls the police, the officer can refuse to help them if his or her religious principles are being violated when interacting with LGBT couples. Since anyone who denies services to gay couples is completely protected from any charges, businesses will not have to prove that their refusal of LGBT couples is legal.
segregation-gay-485x363If “equal protection under the law” seemed like a civilized idea to you, this new law will put civil rights back about 100 years. One clause that is the primary force behind the law states that businesses and government officials can discriminate so long as its “related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.” Ultimately, the law states that LGBT couples can be discriminated against; however, gay individuals are not mentioned. There’s no clear fact that states individuals will not be affected as well.
Kansas is undoubtedly running their blood red state with fear and hostility. There is no purpose to this law other than to make the lives of LGBT members miserable. Segregation based on sexuality is just as hurtful and hateful as the Jim Crow laws of the past. If you think I’m being too dramatic here, consider the fact that this law was passed on 72 votes to 49, which is a significant margin. Did I mention that it’s 2014?
No matter sexuality, race, or gender, we all deserve access to the same functions that government is supposed to serve. No group has the right to impose their religious views on the entire state, nor does any group have the right to discriminate on classes of people based on religion. Religion teaches love and forgiveness, and to treat others as equals, and protect them; not to treat them like the scum on the bottom of one’s shoe because he or she cannot understand that not every human fits into a cookie-cutter mold of what one thinks the world should be.
Clearly, discrimination and prejudice are alive and well here in the US. People hate what they cannot understand. In the words of Marilyn Manson, “You cannot sedate all of the things you hate.”