Kentucky governor signs legislation allowing LGBTQ discrimination in schools

By: Alexsis Beltran

The phrases “religious liberty” and “freedom of religion” are tools employed by the Republican Party in their effort to impose “biblical values” in the rejected liberal measures. While the conservative Christians contemplate the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that clashes with their religious beliefs, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, gave them a blessing as he sledgehammered the LBGTQ students in his state by signing a legislation, SB 17, granting student organizations at the public schools and colleges the right to bar these people from joining. (http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/324793-ky-law-would-allow-student-groups-to-discriminate-against-lgbt-people)

According to the Hill, it should be noted that it also allows teachers in the state to include lessons about the Bible in discussions of religion and history. (http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/324793-ky-law-would-allow-student-groups-to-discriminate-against-lgbt-people) And thus, “indirectly” promote not objective but subjective evaluations about what should be taught to be “moral” to the students.

Senator Albert Robinson, who introduced the bill, said he was inspired from a 2015 decision to remove a bible verse from a student production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” (http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/324793-ky-law-would-allow-student-groups-to-discriminate-against-lgbt-people)

Although the proposal sparked outraged by civil right activists, the bill was largely welcomed in both the state’s House and Senate- with bipartisan support- with just eight House members and three senators voting against it. (http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/03/kentucky-passes-lgbtq-public-school-discrimination-law.html)

The Human Rights Campaign issued in their site a call-out on Bevin for enacting such a law. “Governor Bevin’s shameful decision to sign this discriminatory bill into law jeopardizes non-discrimination policies at public high schools, colleges, and universities,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “No student should fear being excluded from a school club or participating in a school activity because they are LGBTQ. While of course private groups should have the freedom to express religious viewpoints, they should not be able to unfairly discriminate with taxpayer funds.” (http://www.hrc.org/blog/kentucky-governor-signs-sb-17-into-law)

“Many of our colleges and universities have put in place really robust diversity polices on our campuses and they have put these policies in place for a reason,” said Kate Miller, the advocacy director at the ACLU of Kentucky. “The policies don’t allow organizations to receive university support if they engage in discriminatory action, and we’re concerned that this law will stand in the way of those protections.” (http://www.attn.com/stories/15785/kentucky-made-it-legal-discriminate-against-lgbt-students)

SB 17 is said to undermine the “all comers” policies implemented on many of the state’s colleges and universities that requires student organizations receiving financial support from the institution not to discriminate against students based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. (http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/03/20/kentucky-governor-signs-law-to-permit-anti-lgbt-discrimination-in-schools/). It should be noted that such a law is one of about 100 measures advancing in legislatures across the country that LGBT activists refer to as attempts to legally discriminate, and other states have already adopted similar laws- like Indiana and Mississippi. (http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/03/kentucky-passes-lgbtq-public-school-discrimination-law.html)

The purpose to further educate yourself by striving for a college degree in this ever-changing competitive job market is the whole reason to be a college student. There is a lot to balance for a student, but joining a student organization grants a valuable experience that will tremendously impact your career. However, implementing “pro-discrimination” laws does limit even more opportunities for the targeted group due to “indirectly” calling for similar measures. SB 17 is to some extent in line with South Dakota’s recent passage of an anti-LGBT law that grants faith-based organizations the right to refuse placing children in certain households based on their religious or moral convictions. (https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2017/03/11/south-dakota-governor-sign-religious-adoption-protections/)

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