Lawmaker: Businesses that reject gays should put up ‘no gays allowed’ signs
An Oklahoma lawmaker is attempting to introduce a law that would force businesses intending to discriminate against gays to put up signs declaring the policies.
The state legislature is currently debating HB 1371, which would make it legal for business owners to deny service to gay people if it is “against their religious beliefs”.
However, an amendment to the bill submitted by pro-gay state Representative Emily Virgin would make it a requirement for the businesses to advertise their intention to discriminate in advance.
The amendment states: “Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible to the public in all places of business, including websites.
“The notice may refer to the person’s religious beliefs, but shall state specifically which couples the business does not serve by referring to a refusal based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or race.”
The move has been met with support from gay rights groups, who say it helps expose the levels of prejudice in the existing bill.
Troy Stevenson of Freedom Oklahoma said: “Thank you to Representative Virgin for calling out the level of segregation allowed under this legislation.
“If the state of Oklahoma is going to protect discrimination, then at the very least, businesses should be required to own their bias, and post it publicly for the world to see.”
Ryan Kiesel of the Oklahoma ACLU added that it “very pointedly exposes the absurdity of creating a new era of legalized segregation”.
However, it is unclear whether the Republican-dominated legislature will adopt the amendment.
A number of ‘religious freedom’ bills have been introduced by Republicans in a number of states, amid fears they will create a ‘license to discriminate’.