The Kentucky governor just signed a law allowing for anti-LGBTQ discrimination in schools
Matt Bevin, the current standing governor of Kentucky has signed a law allowing for the discrimination of LGBTQ individuals in schools and colleges.
Bevin, along with his fellow Republican peers, signed the law (SB 17), which permits student groups to discriminate against LGBTQ people on the basis of their religion. The move comes after Bevin declared 2017 “the year of the Bible,” and will allow students to cite their religious beliefs as to why certain individuals should be excluded from certain groups.
SB 17 was introduced to protect religious expression in schools, Vox reports, after a Biblical line was cut from a performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
It states that, “No recognized religious or political student organization is hindered or discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs, selection of leaders and members, defining of doctrines and principles, and resolving of organizational disputes in the furtherance of its mission, or in its determination that only persons committed to its mission should conduct these activities.”
For LGBTQ advocates and activists, the move has been interpreted as a bid to discriminate against marginalized groups. Writing for the Human Rights Campaign, Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said that she felt that the bill was shameful.
“Governor Bevin’s shameful decision to sign this discriminatory bill into law jeopardizes non-discrimination policies at public high schools, colleges, and universities, she said. "No student should fear being excluded from a school club or participating in a school activity because they are LGBTQ. While of course private groups should have the freedom to express religious viewpoints, they should not be able to unfairly discriminate with taxpayer funds.
Interestingly, Vox point out that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is, in fact, already legal in most states. They note that only a few states have laws that specifically address the rights of individuals based on their sexual orientation, and even less that focus on both gender identity and sexual orientation.
“Advocacy groups argue, however, that federal bans on sex discrimination should shield LGBTQ people from discrimination, because discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is fundamentally rooted in sex-based expectations,” Vox write. “For example, if someone discriminates against a gay man, that’s largely based on the expectation that a man should only love or have sex with a woman — a belief built on the idea of what a person of a certain sex should be like. Similarly, if someone discriminates against a trans woman, that’s largely based on the expectation that a person designated male at birth should identify as a man — again, a belief built on the idea of what a person of a certain sex assigned at birth should be like.”
They note, however, that until this interpretation is upheld by federal civil rights laws it does not necessarily apply legally.
If this news has affected you, please contact the Trevor Project here. For more information about the American Civil Liberties Union, visit their website here.