Gen Con Unhappy with Indiana Governor over SB 101 - Update

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Gen Con Unhappy with Indiana Governor over SB 101 - Update

Things aren't looking great for Indiana and Gen Con, LLC.

Update:
Yesterday, CEO and Owner of Gen Con LLC Adrian Swartout issued another letter addressing updates to her original response to Indiana Governor Mike Pence regarding the recent passing of SB 101. In this letter, Swartout describes a phone call between Gen Con LLC and Governor Pence, and explains current plans for the future of Gen Con in Indiana.

"Indiana Governor Mike Pence took time to call and discuss Indiana's recently passed RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] law. Governor Pence has stated that he believes the outcry against this law is based upon a misunderstanding. We respectfully disagree with this position. A significant portion of Gen Con attendees identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and we are reading that some members of our community feel unsafe traveling to Indiana, subsequent to the passage of the RFRA law. We understand this sentiment, and will act to support safety."

Swartout also states that Gen Con 2015 will be held, as originally planned, at the Indiana Convention Center this July 30 through August 2, and that the Gen Con team is working with "the City of Indianapolis, local businesses, Visit Indy, and other grassroots organizations to ensure fair and safe treatment during this year's show."

"Gen Con has asked Governor Pence to support an amendment to RFRA that includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity." Swartout states

She goes on to state that,

"Gen Con has asked Governor Pence to support an amendment to RFRA that includes protections
against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe that freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right. Until Gen Con has received legally sound assurances that Indiana will support these rights, we are halting our plans to expand Gen Con into Lucas Oil Stadium, and plans for further expansion into other hotel convention spaces."

Judging by both statements released by Gen Con LLC, it's obvious that Swartout and her team are serious about moving the convention out of Indiana in the future should a repeal or amendment of RFRA not be made.

Original Story:

Gen Con LLC has issued a letter to Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence over support of the controversial bill, SB 101. This "religious freedom" bill, which was passed earlier today, would effectively allow for legal protection of business owners who wish to refuse service to same-sex couples. In the letter written by Adrian Swartout, CEO and Owner of Gen Con LLC, it's made pretty clear that Gen Con is unhappy with the way this has played out.

According to Swartout, "Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds." It's obvious that they intend to keep welcoming their attendee base, as they well should, despite any decisions made about SB 101. What they don't intend to do, according to this letter, is take SB 101's passing lying down.

"Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years. We ask that you please reconsider your support of SB 101."

Gen Con is the largest annual convention at the Indianapolis Convention Center, providing an "estimated annual economic impact of more than $50 million dollars to the city". Last year, Gen Con brought "over 56,000 attendees from more than 40 different countries and all 50 states to the Indiana Convention Center."

That Gen Con has stepped up in defense of its attendees is a great sign of hope for all con-goers who believe that conventions have a responsibility to be welcoming for all attendees. It'll be interesting to see what response Gen Con's letter receives, due in part to the huge economic boost the convention provides for Indiana.

Source: Polygon

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since the article has yet to include why its protesting against SB 101

SB 101 pretty much means that i can discriminate against you because your life / looks / etc are against my cults belief

if it does get past i hope people will unite and create hundreds of cults in which their religious beliefs are so stupid and destructive that they'll have no choice but to remove it

Yeah its a shitty bill, sure. Horrible and all.
But what's Gen Con's horse in this race? Form what I can tell, its an optional bill, yes? As in Gen Con wouldn't be forced to deny all gays access to their convention. Nor would they be required to fire all gay employees.

So why is Gen Con, a tabletop wargamming convention, stepping in on this matter so...I won't use harshly because I do think its a shitty bill and Gen Con can do what they want, but why such a firm ultimatum?

Silentpony:
But what's Gen Con's horse in this race? Form what I can tell, its an optional bill, yes? As in Gen Con wouldn't be forced to deny all gays access to their convention. Nor would they be required to fire all gay employees.

A convention relies deeply on the city around it. If the convention itself provided all the housing, food, services, and so on, that its attendees needed, that would be one thing. But in practice conventions frequently provide little or none of that by themselves.

So, sure, the convention isn't restricted from employing or serving gay people, but those attendees are potentially subject to discrimination from anywhere they choose to stay, eat, ride, or any other service they might want to avail themselves of.

A bill to protect those who discriminate? Doesn't that just seem so flipping backwards for 21st century America?

Also, to express religious freedoms? Yeah, I bet they approve of slavery and multiple wives too or are they going to ignore that part of their religious book?

Good call.

Feel free to call me intolerant for not tolerating the intolerant; fuck that bill. It sounds like the governor still intends to sign it so I'm curious to see just how far Gen-Con will be willing to take this threat...

This is what you get for voting conservative. Can't Gen Con buy some politicians and make them bend to their will? On a lighter note, the first thing I thought when reading this, was can't Leslie Knope fix this?

Just when you think all the stupid ass Republicans have reared their ugly head, some other one does something extremely stupid. It's just nonsense that there is a bill that allows people to discriminate against other people. You don't like other peoples lifestyle, that's fine, you don't have to accept it. I just hope the people of the city and state don't buy into that shit. I mean, ideally, businesses that discriminate do so poorly that it's fiscally reckless to be that way.

So quick these morons are to forget the damage pre-civil rights era mentalities did to America. This is better than that as it's optional, but the results will be the same in some areas.

I have a problem with bills like this and not for the reason the vocal majority do. I completely believe that a business should have the right to refuse business to ANYONE without the media/government/public backlash for their choice because it is their business and if they don't support something then that is their right to not to but ... when this is clearly an anti-gay bill it ruins that possibility for a business to make it's own decisions on who to serve.

@Parasondox, quoting is broken, sorry.

The city council for the town my university is in recently tried to pass a law to prevent businesses from discriminating against same-sex couples.

The town's voters struck it down.

Makes me ashamed to live in the same state as these people.

On behalf of my state I'd like to preemptively apologize for this abomination. I thought my state understood the whole "all men are created equal" idea; I can't express how much this sickens me.

On a brighter note, GenCon may actually have a chance to change this since it's threatening the state's economy. Governments love their money more than anything.

I neither see why the new legislation came about nor why it is only now an issue.
For those who might not know in the US any privately owned business can refuse to deal with you, has been like that since the very start, if they wanted to discriminate a specific group they were allowed to do that.
And you were allowed to tell people about it, no business would have traffic for long if people got informed about all the dodgy shit going on.

Oh good. I look forward to banning anyone who belongs to any arbitrary group I don't like.

Because that's what this law says right? Not that it has any effect on me directly, since I live in another country...

Imagine though, the shitstorm that would result if a business run by muslims decided to ban anyone they thought might be a christian...

Because, you know. Religious freedom laws would make that possible. But that's far less likely than ending up with places that ban you for being gay or something like that...

I bet if something like that happened you'd see efforts to repeal or modify a law like this pretty quickly...
Can't have legal protections to discriminate against people we actually like now can we?

Otakun:
I have a problem with bills like this and not for the reason the vocal majority do. I completely believe that a business should have the right to refuse business to ANYONE without the media/government/public backlash for their choice because it is their business and if they don't support something then that is their right to not to but ... when this is clearly an anti-gay bill it ruins that possibility for a business to make it's own decisions on who to serve.

Of course businesses should have the right to refuse service... when they have a legitimate reason to do so. If someone comes into your business and is creating a hostile or unpleasant atmosphere for your employees or customers, I don't care if they're white, black, gay or vulcan, you have all the right in the world to give them the boot.

That, however, isn't what these "religious freedom" bills (which, to my great shame, Mississippi was the first state to pass one in) is about. They want any business and any individual, potentially up to medical professionals depending on how you interpret the law, to be able to refuse to serve someone simply because they disagree with their lifestyle. Not having to deal with gays is probably the main factor, but being able to refuse giving out birth control, among other common fundamentalist gripes is also potentially covered. These laws are very vague, intentionally so, and they rest on the assumption of a christian majority in that state. If a muslim decided not to serve an "infidel" in Oklahoma, you can bet there'd be a massive uproar from the same people who passed their religious freedom law.

But yeah, these types of laws have no place in a secular nation (which is what America was specifically and intentionally designed as by the founders). You have all the rights in the world to be free to practice your religion... so long as it does not trample over any one else's rights in the process. When you operate a public business, the expectation is that you serve the public. If you own a deli, I don't care what your religious beliefs are. They matter shit-all to the running of your business, and unless someone is causing a problem, and/or doing things against the established rules of your business, you don't get to just toss them out. Refusing to serve someone because you disagree with who they are or what they believe is about a textbook example of discrimination as you can get. Your religious freedom does not trump anyone else's civil rights, or expectations of equal treatment.

...In an ideal world anyway. Which, admittedly, none of us live in :P I look forward to when these dumb laws are challenged and overturned at the national level. They're a cute attempt to legal-fu around anti-discrimination laws, but they're going to fall apart under any kind of serious legal scrutiny at the national level.

Smooth Operator:
I neither see why the new legislation came about nor why it is only now an issue.
For those who might not know in the US any privately owned business can refuse to deal with you, has been like that since the very start, if they wanted to discriminate a specific group they were allowed to do that.
And you were allowed to tell people about it, no business would have traffic for long if people got informed about all the dodgy shit going on.

Businesses have the right to refuse service, within the framework of the nation's anti-discrimination laws. If someone is causing a problem, you can totally refuse to deal with them. However you can't just go "I don't like blacks/muslims/jews, so you don't get to shop here". That would count as discrimination. Sexual orientiation is kind of in a weird gray area at the moment however, since large-scale support of gay rights is relatively recent. In Arkansas, for example, it is totally legal to discriminate against gay employees. You can find out an employee is gay, go "I'm firing you because you're gay" and then fire them, and it's totally within the law.

These 'religious freedom' laws are an attempt for super-conservative states to try and hedge their bets. The writing on the wall is that gay rights are eventually going to become a national thing, but in theory, these laws allowing people to claim 'religious freedom' give them a legal technicality to weasel out of having to follow any gay rights laws that may be passed. It's a tactic being used by people who know they're on the wrong side of history and refuse to try to do anything to fix that. I don't see how these laws don't get overturned by the Supreme Court when someone finally gets a challenge up to them. Only a matter of time.

As a business owner, I'll tell you these kind of laws make it impossible to refuse business to ANYONE.

After the one in my state went into effect, it became impossible for businesses to eject an unruly customer fraudulent customer without having them arrested, because it would be in the newspaper the next day that you're refusing to serve people under this law because they're something. They tried to return a HP laptop to a store that only sells Apple products? Nope, front page you kicked them out because they were wearing a cross. Teenagers racing amigos in the store and opening packages? Nope, all over the paper that you've banned Hispanics from your store. Arguing and breaking dishes in the restaurant? Nope, two page spread that you're refusing to serve white people.

You'd occasionally get these kinds of claims before, when this kind of discrimination was blatantly illegal, but the stories never got traction because it usually involved lawyers and investigations. For example, a few months before the law went through, a grocery store ejected a black customer who then claimed discrimination. The article about it was buried on page six (of a newspaper that rarely even has six pages) and noted that "security footage shows the customer appearing to masturbate in the magazine aisle"). Same guy made a claim against another store last month, and it's front page that this store doesn't want black people in their deli section anymore.

Net effect? If I want to remove somebody from the store, I've got to have them arrested and I've got to have god damn good reason, because if I show them the door, some absurd parody of the day will be in the news or on Facebook tomorrow.

It's all well and good if you really don't want to serve gay people, or maybe think there's more people who'll come to you because you're publicly sticking it to them, but then when one of those people starts shouting obscenities at another customer and you tell him he has to leave, you can damn sure bet he'll tell everybody it was because of the American flag on his truck.

Well, GenCon is named after Geneva, Wisconsin, the city where it was originally held. There are certainly conference facilities in Wisconsin. Maybe they should just pull out of Indiana?

.

Good for them. The governor wants to pass some law to restrict business based on opinion, then GenCon can take all the revenue they bring in for the state somewhere else too. Fun thing for them, they don't have to hide behind some law or moral righteousness, they can just say "We think you're being dicks, kthxbye" xD

The amount of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance in this community is astounding. It seems that everyone is all for tolerance and inclusion as long as you believe what they want you to believe. I weep for the gaming industry as it slowly hangs itself on the rope of political correctness.

Let's say a gay couple goes into a Christian bakery, and asks for a wedding cake. The owners of the bakery tell them that that would violate their religious beliefs. The gay couple then goes and sues the bakery for discrimination, knowing full well that they would be refused. That is the kind of behavior that this law is designed to protect businesses from.

But of course, we can't have Christians standing up for their rights, because they don't celebrate sin the way the rest of the country does. What militant groups want is not tolerance, they want validation. They want special treatment.

Now, let the hatred flow.

isdestroyer:
The amount of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance in this community is astounding. It seems that everyone is all for tolerance and inclusion as long as you believe what they want you to believe. I weep for the gaming industry as it slowly hangs itself on the rope of political correctness.

Let's say a gay couple goes into a Christian bakery, and asks for a wedding cake. The owners of the bakery tell them that that would violate their religious beliefs. The gay couple then goes and sues the bakery for discrimination, knowing full well that they would be refused. That is the kind of behavior that this law is designed to protect businesses from.

But of course, we can't have Christians standing up for their rights, because they don't celebrate sin the way the rest of the country does. What militant groups want is not tolerance, they want validation. They want special treatment.

Now, let the hatred flow.

This bill is worded so that anyone could refuse service to anyone for anything, and that would make it bad no matter what. "Bigots claiming to be Christian refusing to serve gay people" would just be the most common use of it if it passed. And if I were Christian, I would be pretty offended that those bigots would use my faith as a flameshield.

OT: Doesn't this bill violate the Constitution? Separation of church and state and all that. And good on Gen Con for speaking up I say.

Gearhead mk2:
OT: Doesn't this bill violate the Constitution? Separation of church and state and all that. And good on Gen Con for speaking up I say.

A misconception. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention a separation of church and state. That line was from a letter that Jefferson wrote to a Baptiste church. What the Constitution does say is that it will not make a law establishing a national religion, nor prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Poor poor persecuted Christians, no longer allowed to freely throw gay people in jail for their sexual orientation, they're on death's door, trying their best to get out legislation so that they can discriminate against gay people in their professional lives, such as refusing emergency medical care to them. I mean its just horrific to think of Christian doctors, surgeons and EMTs being forced to treat gay people like they were actual human beings.

This is ignorant bullshit to the umpteenth degree! Why only homosexuals? I mean, some religions believe that slavery is "God's divine right!" and that maybe they shouldn't be serving people of a different skin as well. Sound right? FUCK NO!, it doesn't! That about sums up this kind of ridiculousness.

Also, I'm pretty sure that there have been plenty of proven scientific studies that show that homosexuality has an underlying relation to genetics, not just "choice". This is along the lines of left-handedness (go southpaws!) too. Do you recall all the teachers, nuns, and parents using objects to strike a child's hand when they used their Left? Now it has been fully proven that Left-handedness is an effect from the brain and the way it communicates and works between the right and left hemispheres; not something you can simply 'slap away'.

This governor is so ass-backwards and redneck that it is unbelievable. I hope that he gets shunned so much that he either resigns or is kicked out of office. Really hoping that the SUPREME COURT finds his bill unconstitutional and is struck down rather quickly.

MarsAtlas:
Poor poor persecuted Christians, no longer allowed to freely throw gay people in jail for their sexual orientation, they're on death's door, trying their best to get out legislation so that they can discriminate against gay people in their professional lives, such as refusing emergency medical care to them. I mean its just horrific to think of Christian doctors, surgeons and EMTs being forced to treat gay people like they were actual human beings.

I think you've cracked it! Clearly every person that's a Christian is 100% for this bill and is CLEARLY only doing anything for the express purpose of discriminating against everyone ever. You know, because they're Christian.

Seriously, come off it. Some douchebags are voting for a douchebag bill. You don't need to demonize millions of people that have nothing to do with it because you're upset.

isdestroyer:

Gearhead mk2:
OT: Doesn't this bill violate the Constitution? Separation of church and state and all that. And good on Gen Con for speaking up I say.

A misconception. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention a separation of church and state. That line was from a letter that Jefferson wrote to a Baptiste church. What the Constitution does say is that it will not make a law establishing a national religion, nor prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Nowhere in the constitution itself, but Supreme court precedent has codified the phrase as implicit to the First Amendment since the early 20th century. It's why the Supreme court often cites "separation of Church and State" in its decisions, and is the logic behind why so many Supreme court decisions since then swing in favor of Separation of Church and state.

To the Supreme court at least, the body that decides what is and is not constitutional, "separation of church and state" is considered to be implied by the First Amendment, and unless they overturn rulings almost a century old that, many tied to the civil rights movement, they will continue to rule in favor of that interpretation.

This bill skirts a line, not necessarily the first amendment, it will likely be challenged under the 14th if it goes that far, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it overruled by the local courts and subsequently moved up the chain of appeals until the state either gives up or it goes in front of the Supreme court, which will likely strike the bill down given past precedent in similar cases anyway. Should be interesting to watch.

isdestroyer:
The amount of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance in this community is astounding. It seems that everyone is all for tolerance and inclusion as long as you believe what they want you to believe. I weep for the gaming industry as it slowly hangs itself on the rope of political correctness.

Let's say a gay couple goes into a Christian bakery, and asks for a wedding cake. The owners of the bakery tell them that that would violate their religious beliefs. The gay couple then goes and sues the bakery for discrimination, knowing full well that they would be refused. That is the kind of behavior that this law is designed to protect businesses from.

But of course, we can't have Christians standing up for their rights, because they don't celebrate sin the way the rest of the country does. What militant groups want is not tolerance, they want validation. They want special treatment.

Now, let the hatred flow.

You're just being treated like your pro-segregation predecessors. You're no different than them, you just want special privileges because of your religious nonsense.

It wasn't bigotry to not cater to racists be for and it isn't bigotry to be against catering to religious bigots now.

No one is for total tolerance. The most intolerant just like to pretend that's what it is about to hide behind it. And once they're free their lip service to tolerance is done

Totally against this bill and what it represents and all, but out of curiosity I'd like to play the devils advocate for a moment.

In a place without this law, lets say a member of an LGBT affirming Christian church who owns and operates a catering company is offered a job catering an affair for the Westboro Baptist Church.

Would the WBC have the right to litigation if this buisness refused to serve them, provided that the WBC remained civil to them specifically? Would this buisness be forced to serve a group of people sitting around "God Hates..." posters all day?

If this catering company did operate in a state with these laws, would they be protected by them?

isdestroyer:
The amount of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance in this community is astounding. It seems that everyone is all for tolerance and inclusion as long as you believe what they want you to believe. I weep for the gaming industry as it slowly hangs itself on the rope of political correctness.

Let's say a gay couple goes into a Christian bakery, and asks for a wedding cake. The owners of the bakery tell them that that would violate their religious beliefs. The gay couple then goes and sues the bakery for discrimination, knowing full well that they would be refused. That is the kind of behavior that this law is designed to protect businesses from.

But of course, we can't have Christians standing up for their rights, because they don't celebrate sin the way the rest of the country does. What militant groups want is not tolerance, they want validation. They want special treatment.

Now, let the hatred flow.

Hmmm...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/19/relationship-with-jesus-doesnt-justify-florists-refusal-to-serve-gay-couple-judge-rules/

Superior Court Judge Alexander C. Ekstrom said, "In trade and commerce, and more particularly when seeking to prevent discrimination in public accommodations, the courts have confirmed the power of the legislative branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory, even where the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief."

Funny thing about that lady too: she has served LGBT people before as far as flowers go. But weddings, oh "God forbid". But really if they go by their precious Bible words, it says NOTHING about weddings, but instead laying down with; so why was she for their lifestyle, but not their weddings? What a nutter!

Oh, and this one:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/02/bakery-same-sex-oregon-fined-wedding-cake/22771685/

And those are just 2 examples of many. Then end of nearly every one of them being that the discriminating assholes are called just that by the courts and required to either comply by serving, or shut down (in the case of the bakery, they have to pay $150,000 state fine and they closed their business down).

The Hungry Samurai:
Totally against this bill and what it represents and all, but out of curiosity I'd like to play the devils advocate for a moment.

In a place without this law, lets say a member of an LGBT affirming Christian church who owns and operates a catering company is offered a job catering an affair for the Westboro Baptist Church.

Would the WBC have the right to litigation if this buisness refused to serve them, provided that the WBC remained civil to them specifically? Would this buisness be forced to serve a group of people sitting around "God Hates..." posters all day?

If this catering company did operate in a state with these laws, would they be protected by them?

WBC is knowing for their discrimination rallies. If they -the catering company- refused service for them, there is more than enough evidence floating around the internet to explain that this is a discrimination business that they didn't want to cater to the discrimination. Any $5 lawyer would get the catering company off without a dime lost against WBC, that "church" makes themselves look bad.

Call me intolerant if you will, but I think I'm fine with that bill as I understand it. No one should be refusing service to someone just because of stupid shit like them being gay or black or something, but I have no problem letting someone have the freedom to be a dick. If they are really that convinced that gays shouldn't be served, then word is going to get out pretty quickly that no one should do business with them. There's no need to impose laws and fines on someone so self-destructive as that.

isdestroyer:

Gearhead mk2:
OT: Doesn't this bill violate the Constitution? Separation of church and state and all that. And good on Gen Con for speaking up I say.

A misconception. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention a separation of church and state. That line was from a letter that Jefferson wrote to a Baptiste church. What the Constitution does say is that it will not make a law establishing a national religion, nor prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Here's the actual text: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

And here's the pertinent passage from Jefferson's letter to which you refer: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

It's pretty clear then, that keeping government out of people's religious lives-in other words separating the state from the church-was the intention. And there is much case law since that time to back it up.

But here's the thing: if business owners want to practice their freedom of religion by discriminating against a particular group (e.g., gays, atheists, the left-handed, people of Germanic descent, other Christian denominations, etc.), then I have a right to know that's what they're doing, because I have a right to exercise my own freedom of (or from) religion by not supporting bigots. So how about this: A business can deny service to whatever class(es) of people, but if they do, that have to put up a big sign that declares their belief, so those of us who believe in tolerance can make an informed decision.

But then, we already went through a long period of legal discrimination that involved signs declaring where certain people would and wouldn't be served. I thought we were past that BS by now. Do we really want to go back to a new version of jim Crow? I think not.

EternallyBored:

isdestroyer:

Gearhead mk2:
OT: Doesn't this bill violate the Constitution? Separation of church and state and all that. And good on Gen Con for speaking up I say.

A misconception. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention a separation of church and state. That line was from a letter that Jefferson wrote to a Baptiste church. What the Constitution does say is that it will not make a law establishing a national religion, nor prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Nowhere in the constitution itself, but Supreme court precedent has codified the phrase as implicit to the First Amendment since the early 20th century. It's why the Supreme court often cites "separation of Church and State" in its decisions, and is the logic behind why so many Supreme court decisions since then swing in favor of Separation of Church and state.

To the Supreme court at least, the body that decides what is and is not constitutional, "separation of church and state" is considered to be implied by the First Amendment, and unless they overturn rulings almost a century old that, many tied to the civil rights movement, they will continue to rule in favor of that interpretation.

This bill skirts a line, not necessarily the first amendment, it will likely be challenged under the 14th if it goes that far, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it overruled by the local courts and subsequently moved up the chain of appeals until the state either gives up or it goes in front of the Supreme court, which will likely strike the bill down given past precedent in similar cases anyway. Should be interesting to watch.

And let's not forget the intention behind the original founding either. The majority of the Founding Fathers were not too keen on organized religion in general, and they were specifically against the collusion between government and religion because all that had ever done in Europe is create a lot of problems and injustice. Thomas Jefferson even wrote a letter specifically stating that "The United States is in no way a Christian nation." He was so outspoken about his views on that that his political opponents would sometimes accuse him of being an atheist.

Were the Founding Fathers almost universally christian? Yeah. But they weren't fundamentalists by any means. Most of them were deists (with a couple quite likely secret atheists). They didn't believe in prayer, or a personal relationship with God. At best, they believed God was some unknowable force that acted purely through natural means. Jefferson even went so far as to take a razor blade to his bible and remove *everything* to do with the supernatural and everything that wasn't first-hand spoken by Jesus. These guys were products of the enlightenment, and naturalism, and European deism. The idea that they would side with this country's current brand of fundamentalist religious nutter is laughable. The recent trend of trying to re-write history and turn the Founding Fathers into some sort of hardcore Christians who wanted to entangle the government with organized religious is historically wrong, and a great disservice to how interesting those people actually were.

Mixing religion, especially fundamentalist, literalist religion, with government *never* ends well. It never serves anyone well. Look at most of European history. Or hell, if you want a contemporary example, take a look at the sorts of things that go on in Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Iran. That's what happens when religion gets a place in government. The United States was specifically designed to be a secular nation, one of the first in the world. That's one of the things that made us so radical and special at the time. That's our heritage.

Areloch:

MarsAtlas:
Poor poor persecuted Christians, no longer allowed to freely throw gay people in jail for their sexual orientation, they're on death's door, trying their best to get out legislation so that they can discriminate against gay people in their professional lives, such as refusing emergency medical care to them. I mean its just horrific to think of Christian doctors, surgeons and EMTs being forced to treat gay people like they were actual human beings.

I think you've cracked it! Clearly every person that's a Christian is 100% for this bill and is CLEARLY only doing anything for the express purpose of discriminating against everyone ever. You know, because they're Christian.

Seriously, come off it. Some douchebags are voting for a douchebag bill. You don't need to demonize millions of people that have nothing to do with it because you're upset.

I'm was more meaning this in regards to the Christians who act like they're being oppressed by being forced to treat LGBT people like human beings, not all Christians as a people. Sarcasm doesn't quite roll off as well, and I thought it was fairly obvious that it didn't apply to all Christians. For example, more than half of Catholics in the United States support same-sex marriage.

EternallyBored:
This bill skirts a line, not necessarily the first amendment, it will likely be challenged under the 14th if it goes that far, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it overruled by the local courts and subsequently moved up the chain of appeals until the state either gives up or it goes in front of the Supreme court, which will likely strike the bill down given past precedent in similar cases anyway. Should be interesting to watch.

These bills are popping up in just about every state, and I think some are already being challenged in the state courts.

Deathfish15:
WBC is knowing for their discrimination rallies. If they -the catering company- refused service for them, there is more than enough evidence floating around the internet to explain that this is a discrimination business that they didn't want to cater to the discrimination. Any $5 lawyer would get the catering company off without a dime lost against WBC, that "church" makes themselves look bad.

And while that would be Karmically awesome, is it right? What if the affair that these WBC jerks want catered isn't a discrimination rally. A baptism for example. Would it still be right for the caterer's to tell them to sod off?

Signa:
Call me intolerant if you will, but I think I'm fine with that bill as I understand it. No one should be refusing service to someone just because of stupid shit like them being gay or black or something, but I have no problem letting someone have the freedom to be a dick. If they are really that convinced that gays shouldn't be served, then word is going to get out pretty quickly that no one should do business with them. There's no need to impose laws and fines on someone so self-destructive as that.

While it sounds nice, "hey everyone gets the freedom to do business with whoever they want", in practice what you ended up with historically was small towns being able to practice de facto segregation.

In a big city, or even a fairly large town, things would likely end up like you say in most places, any business caught discriminating against gay people would face severe public backlash, in small towns though one or two business owners could effectively force Gay people or some other minority group out of town simply by denying them access to things like food and gasoline. This is what happened in the 40's and 50's, and was one of the cornerstones of dismantling segregation, because "separate but equal" at least looks like it works when you have businesses catering to both groups, but small towns ended up using that freedom to essentially kick black people out of their towns by refusing them business to the point that they could no longer survive there, regardless if they were legal homeowners or residents, they had to leave because they couldn't buy what they needed to live.

Likewise, something like 40% of this country still opposes gay marriage, that number isn't evenly distributed across every county and town, there are towns out there where the number of people who would outright oppose gay people, much less allow them to get married, hovers around 80%+, where you would only need a single store owner refusing service to prevent any gay person in a 10 mile radius from buying groceries. In places like that, you run the real risk of basically allowing towns or areas to become, "no gay zones". In which case, laws like this will result in outcry from people outside the towns, so you've got big city people invading small towns to protest events like this, which in the end causes bigger problems than just prohibiting it.

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