The state that claims to let its citizens "Live Free or Die" doesn't seem to want to allow everyone live free ... at least not people planning a same-sex wedding. New Hampshire currently has a bill before legislature that would allow people to refuse services to same-sex couples based on religious or conscience reasons. While it doesn't cite same-sex marriage explicitly, HB 1264 would allow business owners to be immune from civil lawsuits if they refused to do business with gay couples planning their weddings. So, in other words, if the bill was passed and a same-sex couple was turned away from a bridal salon (like what happened last summer in New Jersey), that would be acceptable.
Insane. This bill sounds like a blatant attempt to legalize discrimination and make it okay for people to engage in hateful, bigoted behavior.
Because, apparently, they don't have bigger fish to fry! They've gotta make sure there's a law to protect people who have beliefs that could easily be seen as totally backasswards.
Republican Rep. Frank Sapereto of Derry, New Hampshire explained his support for the bill to the local news saying, "We should be free to do business with who we want."
Uh ... huh. Even if you think the law might be a good way to protect business owners from having to serve people they don't "agree with," a bill like this would open a HUGE can of worms. Because why stop with same-sex couples? What if a business owner doesn't "agree with" someone's race or religion? Should they be able to refuse services to them, as well? What if a bakery that sells wedding cakes has a problem with an interracial couple? Should they be able to turn them away?
See, discrimination is discrimination, no matter what kind of fancy "Live Free or Die" rationale you try to hide it behind. Businesses should never be given a free pass to turn their backs to customers they don't like for whatever reason. Those pushing this bill in New Hampshire sure have a twisted sense of what freedom and the values of this country really are all about.
Should business owners be able to discriminate against whomever they wish?
Image via Steve Johnson/Flickr