Published in the Iola Register on Feb. 17, 2014.


By Brad Lowell
Everyday the Kansas legislature looks and sounds more and more like Comedy Central.
From the bills which would end no fault divorce, declare Kansas math and reading standards null and void and suspend by legislation the operation of federal law, rules and resolutions regarding the Affordable Care Act, the legislature continues to crank out proposals that go from the ridiculous to the sublime.
This week, however, came the show stopper when the House approved a bill which would give public and private-sector business employees the right to refuse service based on their personal religious beliefs about same sex marriage. The lunacy of the bill was punctuated by statements made on the House floor by Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Shawnee.
According to a Wichita Eagle story by Bryan Lowry, Macheers said that “discrimination is horrible. It's hurtful...It has no place in civilized society, and that's precisely why we're moving this bill. There have been times in history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield for protection from that.”
In other words he must believe that gay couples live outside civilized society and denying them service would not be discrimination nor hurtful. Possibly, he would have them ride in the back of the bus, as well.
The proponents of the bill state that the measure would protect government and private employees from being sued for not extending service because of religious beliefs. The bill does have a provision that if an employee refuses to serve a same sex couple, the manager is obligated to find another employee who will oblige.
The 72 members of the House voting in favor of this measure are probably the same ones who want to dictate who can marry and who can't, would outlaw protected sex in our bedrooms and would have women remain in abusive marriages.
Rep. Macheers is correct, “discrimination has no place in civilized society.”