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Steven Tuck: Fall on side of equal opportunity

  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012, at 12 a.m.

Two cities in Kansas have been in the news for their amended city policies on discrimination. Each city added protection in housing and employment because of sexual orientation. Now the amendments are under attack because religious organizations and churches did not think homosexuals should be protected.

But has anyone thought through what a defeat could mean? I think not.

Let’s say each measure goes down to defeat. This would mean that if I were a landlord or an employer, I could ask tenants to vacate my property because of their sexual orientation or could terminate employment based on sexual orientation. If I were a gay landlord or a gay employer, I could evict my renters solely based on their sexual orientation of heterosexuality. I could fire employees because they were heterosexuals.

Going a bit further: Lingering around our state Legislature is a bill with the noble title of the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.” The bottom line of this bill is to allow you to do what you want to do, or don’t want to do, solely based on your religious beliefs. Its hidden agenda is overturning the anti-discrimination policy set by the city of Lawrence.

If this bill is passed, can my dentist tell me he will not treat me because I’m gay? If my dentist is gay, can he deny treatment to someone known to be anti-gay because being anti-gay is against his religious beliefs? And what form of religious beliefs are to be protected? Just think of all the denominations within the Christian faith, Jewish faith, Islamic faith, Eastern religions, Wicca, etc. Many of these beliefs contradict one another, so whose beliefs are we to protect?

When it comes to the protection of our citizens, it is imperative we fall on the side of equal opportunity and protection from harm from any form of discrimination. You don’t have to like everyone, but as long as that person is doing no harm to any other person, then the protection from discrimination of any kind is due that citizen.

STEVEN TUCK

Wichita

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