Kentucky Governor Signs Religious Refusals Bill into Law, Targeting LGBT Students

By Adam Polaski • March 22, 2017 • 3:49 pm

On Monday, Kentucky’s Republican Governor Matt Bevin signed into law Senate Bill 17, a bill that purports to protect the religious freedom of students but in fact carves out a dangerous license to discriminate against LGBT students in schools.

The Washington Blade reported this week:

“The law, which applies to public schools and public post-secondary institutions, also ensures “no recognized religious or political student organization is discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs,” allowing religious groups on campus to turn away LGBT students.”

Religious freedom is of the utmost importance – it’s one of our nation’s most important rights, and that’s why it’s protected by the U.S. Constitution. But religion should never be used as a guise for discrimination against people for being who they are or loving who they love – and that’s what SB17 will now allow in Kentucky.

Chris Hartman, leader of the Fairness Campaign in Kentucky told The Washington Blade he is “disappointed in this new law that can potentially further marginalize LGBT students across Kentucky.” He also added that many other anti-LGBT bills were defeated in the Bluegrass State.

Last year a similar bill became law in Kansas. Since then, California has prohibited travel to Kansas, citing this anti-LGBT policy. Lawmakers are considering similar legislation in dozens of states across the country – but they should avoid Kentucky’s mistakes and reject shameful anti-LGBT legislation.

Keep track of legislation related to LGBT discrimination on the Freedom for All Americans Legislative Tracker.


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