OK Senator advocates for segregation based on orientation March 6, 2015  •  12:00 pm

Contact: Troy Stevenson
Executive Director – Freedom Oklahoma
tstevenson@theequalitynetwork.org | (405) 802-8229
 
Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk was quoted in the New York Times, and other national media outlets, yesterday as saying:
 
“They don’t have a right to be served in every single store. People need to have the ability to refuse service if it violates their religious convictions.”
 
He must have been aware that his words harkened back to a tragic chapter in American History, because he did clarify that these religious convictions mostly applied to the LGBT community by saying:
 
“The L.G.B.T. movement is the main thing, the primary thing that’s going to be challenging religious liberties and the freedom to live out religious convictions. And I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”
 
Oklahoma faces several licenses to discriminate bills, wrapped in the guise of religious freedom, this session; however, none is as clear as Senator Silk’s SB 440. Constitutionally, churches and other religious institutions, as well as clergy and anyone serving a solely religious community are protected by the first amendment, and can refuse to interact with anyone on any grounds – no matter how discriminatory they may be. However, we decided a long time ago – in this country – that when you do business with the public, you do business with the whole public. This means you don’t get to kick them out based on where they were born, where they worship, the pigment of their skin, whom they love, or what their gender is. That is discrimination, and that is not acceptable to fair-minded Oklahomans.
 
The following statement can be attributed to Freedom Oklahoma executive director, Troy Stevenson:
 
“Senator Silk’s words are shocking, but more shocking is his attempt to mask blatant discrimination in the guise of religious liberty.  Religion is meant to be a tool of love, not an instrument of harm. And we decided a long time ago. as a nation, that while we may choose who sits next to us in the pew on Sunday, our lunch-counters are open to all.”
 
Background:
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/us/anticipating-nationwide-right-to-same-sex-marriage-states-weigh-religious-exemption-bills.html
 
http://www.salon.com/2015/03/05/gop_lawmaker_gay_people_don’t_have_a_right_to_be_served_in_every_single_store/

http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2015-16%20INT/SB/SB440%20INT.PDF


This Story: Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk was quoted in the New York Times, and other national media outlets, yesterday as saying: “They don’t have a right to be served in every single store. People need to have the ability to refuse service if it violates their religious convictions.”
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