When arguing against an amendment to a discrimination bill on Monday, Missouri Representative Rick Brattin essentially said that LGBTQ people don't count as human.
Although it's technically an anti-discrimination bill, SB43 would actually make it easier for workplace discrimination to happen in Missouri. As of now, someone who is fired for one of the identities protected under the state's anti-discrimination laws (race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, and age) only has to prove that discrimination played a part in their firing. If this bill were to pass, the person who was fired would have to show that discrimination was the main reason they were let go.
Although it wouldn't change the vaguely discriminatory nature of this anti-discrimination law, Representative Kevin Engler attempted to amend the bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's existing anti-discrimination laws, The Kansas City Star reports. An amendment would mean the SB43 would be sent back to the Senate and would essentially kill the bill, The Kansas City Star reports.
So no one was surprised to see lawmakers who are in support of the bill fight against any proposed amendment. But Brattin's argument was unfounded and discriminatory in and of itself.
He attempted to make the claim that adding sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-discrimination laws would limit religious freedom, but his words implied that based on many religious texts, "homosexuality" isn't just a sin, it actually sets queer people apart from all other humans.
“When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Quran, of other religions,” Brattin said, according to The Kansas City Star, “there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.”
We, and the rest of the internet, are taking his choice of the word "distinction" to mean that Brattin thinks being gay makes people something less than human.
And this is just one line from what seems to have been a long speech that justifies religious discrimination — especially of transgender people.
Crystal Thomas, a statehouse reporter in Missouri, tweeted out a transcript of a large portion of Brattin's speech.
He claims that being gay is "morally wrong and it is considered wrong by Scripture of the Holy Bible, of the Koran and other religious beliefs." Since America is a country that believes everyone has a constitutional right to practice their religion, adding sexuality and gender identity to anti-discrimination laws would impinge on that right, according to Brattin's logic.
"Nobody says you need to hate anyone," the transcript continues. "But you have a policy in place that you don't want someone to show up that was a guy yesterday to show up as a girl today and you believe that's wrong and you don't believe that's fitting for your company, then I have that right to say, 'No, I'm sorry, you are not going to show up as a cross-dresser today in my business."
As much as Brattin attempts to backtrack and claim that keeping sexuality and gender identity off of Missouri's anti-discrimination laws "isn't about hating anyone," his speech makes it clear that he believes religion gives people an excuse to hate.
Representative Greg Razer, who wrote an email following Brattin's comments asking for more LGBTQ support in Missouri, argued for the amendment, saying that keeping sexuality and gender identity out of the state's anti-discrimination laws punishes people just for who they are, The Kansas City Star reports.
“I was born gay. I’m gay today,” he said, according to The Kansas City Star. “And it’s just a part of who I am.”
Unfortunately, the amendment failed. SB43 passed in the Missouri Senate and is now being sent to the governor's office for approval.
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