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Kentucky Governor Beshear Vetoes ‘Forced Religion’ Bill

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Flag of Kentucky

Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky has vetoed House Bill 279, known as the ‘Forced Religion Imposition Act’ by some. People and organizations from across the state called on the Governor to veto the bill even though Senate President Robert Stivers has promised to override the veto; however, the override may not be possible.

Kentucky Equality Federation president Jordan Palmer noted that “Despite the promise of Senate President Stivers to override a veto to House Bill 279, Kentucky Equality Federation does not think the House and Senate has sufficient time to override a veto, especially with a sine die only five (5) days away. Though they could perhaps pull it off, anyone involved in Frankfort politics will tell you the same thing; the Kentucky Legislature doesn’t give itself enough time to override a veto.”

HB 279 would have allowed for people to discriminate based upon their religious convictions or beliefs. This has been something that Christian Conservatives have been pushing since the end of Segregation.

KEF President Palmer also stated that “Governor Beshear is pushing Kentucky to once again being a leader in civil rights protection for minorities throughout the Commonwealth by not infringing on their city equality ordinances in Covington, Lexington, Louisville, and Vicco. We applaud Steve Beshear for being an effective Governor and Commander-in-Chief; to quote Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus,’ and Governor Beshear has done exactly that.”

Many believe that the bill went beyond ‘freedom of religion’ to ‘forced religion’ allowing people to impose their religious beliefs on others and giving them legal authority to do so.

Palmer also stated that “Kentucky lawmakers needs to first define language in House Bill 279 before it becomes law. What constitutes a ‘burden’ is undefined in the proposed law. One of the amendments proposed and accepted by Representative Owens also fails to qualify what a ‘substantial’ burden to someone’s religious beliefs are.”

He went on to say “Personally I do not think the House and Senate have sufficient time to override a veto, especially with a sine die only four (4) days away. Though they could perhaps pull it off, anyone involved in Frankfort politics will tell you the same thing; historically the Kentucky Legislature doesn’t give itself enough time to override a veto.”

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3 Responses to Kentucky Governor Beshear Vetoes ‘Forced Religion’ Bill

  1. Smidgen Barnes

    March 27, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Well, unfortunately, the KY Legislature did indeed leave itself enough time to override this veto. They anticipated it and the House was in session late into the evening to get its vote taken. On Wednesday, the Senate will vote…it was strongly in favor of the bill the first time around so it has nothing to worry about as far as finding votes.

    This is a sad day for Kentucky. We can only hope that, very soon, someone challenges the constitutionality of the bill, even if it has to be done piece by piece, protected class by protected class. But still, the passage of HS 279 has set us back 50 years…and we had no time to lose, let alone time to go back and re-litigate the past 50 years.

  2. adamas

    March 23, 2013 at 1:31 am

    The “funny” thing about idiotic laws like this. If a law like this passed and a Pagan business owner didn’t hire someone because the applicant was a Christian, they’d be calling for a mob to burn the business down, at the very least.

  3. Chris

    March 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    How does this bill create jobs? Exactly. Stop worrying about who believes in Jesus and who doesn’t and start worrying about bettering your economy. The fact that the Kentucky legislator would even consider this bill shows they have a contempt for the US Constitution and the federal government should deal with them severely. Anyone with a brain can tell they’re just trying to make Christianity the law of the land, because they realize that they are losing political power due to diversity.