Religious beliefs aren't a license to discriminate

The question of passing a local fairness ordinance protecting LGBTQ members of the community raises a key issue: religious beliefs vs. actions based on religious beliefs. Freedom of religion, which includes religious beliefs, is a precious American right written into the Constitution.

Freedom of action based on a particular religious belief is a different matter. A prime example arose prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial segregation in public places. Some restaurateurs argued that their sincerely held religious belief that God wanted the races kept separate prevented them from serving blacks. Their belief was upheld. Their discriminatory actions were not. Fairness prevailed.

Now, a similar situation has come to the forefront in Owensboro and Daviess County regarding a proposed LGBTQ fairness ordinance. Opposition apparently stems mostly from citizens who believe God favors the right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. I don't doubt that is a sincerely held religious belief. Those citizens certainly have a constitutional right to that belief.

In fact, as matters stand, their belief rules locally in the absence of an LGBTQ fairness ordinance. Another fact: This is not even an issue for tens of millions of Americans, as some states have statewide fairness laws, as do hundreds of local governments, including 13 in Kentucky.

The issue for residents of Owensboro and Daviess County and their elected leaders is this: Yes, religious beliefs are protected. But should people holding this particular religious belief be entitled to discriminate based on that belief? Should we forego passing a fairness ordinance based solely upon this particular religious belief?

Paul Morsey

Owensboro

Why are some OK with alcohol on city property, but not a gun show?

Alcohol causes a great number of deaths every year in our community. Yet, it's OK to some for our city government to allow alcohol sales on city property (regardless, if a third party manages the site) and to create a whole "open container alcohol party zone" to attract downtown revenue, but they want to take away my constitutional Second Amendment right?

City Attorney Steve Lynn is correct in saying many would sue on solid ground. As for the federal law that bans guns within 1,000 feet of a school - first, many neighbors would be guilty (the law doesn't omit private homes owning guns within a certain amount of feet from a school) and, secondly, since that law came into effect way after Owensboro Catholic High School was built, feel free to move the gun show to the convention center or another city property.

John Campo

Owensboro

(1) comment

Bruce Pierce

Paul, the First Amendment doesn't just protect the Freedom of Religion. It also protects the Freedom of Speech, all speech not just words and expressions we like. It also protects the Freedom of Association, meaning we can choose not only who we associate with but who we do not want to associate with. All of these freedoms are considered "laws of nature" and predate the Constitution. The Bill of Rights only enumerate those rights. Specifically forbidding the government from compelling differently. Any laws that say anything different create a "protected class" of individual and is contrary to the Supreme Law of the Land.

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