An Oklahoma lawmaker is moving forward with a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to potential customers if they find their “sex, gender, or sexual orientation” offensive due to their religious beliefs, reports The New Civil Rights Movement.
State Senator Joseph Silk (R) is sponsoring the “Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015,” which would protect businesses — religious or secular — from lawsuits for discriminating against customers who offend their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Silk explained the LGBT community is infringing upon the religious beliefs of Americans, making it impossible for them to maintain their religious convictions.
“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,” Silk explained before adding, “And I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”
Silk explained that members of the LGBT movement need to be sensitive to the rights of religious business owners, which trump their rights as consumers and citizens.
“They don’t have a right to be served in every single store,” he said. “People need to have the ability to refuse service if its violates their religious convictions.”
According to Silk’s bill, businesses — including non-profits — would have the right to deny, “Services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, and goods or privileges,” to anyone who offends their religious sensibilities.
Additionally businesses could refuse to provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services, while also refusing to hire a person based upon their gender or sexual orientation.
Under Silk’s proposed law, businesses would not be able to be sued for discrimination.
Arkansas is also considering a bill similar to Silk’s, calling it the more mundane “Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act.”