By Forest Thigpen
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Here’s the truth about the Freedom of Conscience bill. Its purpose is to keep the government from discriminating against people who believe marriage is between one man and one woman. It protects religious colleges that want to house only opposite-sex couples in their married-couple housing. It protects Catholic Charities from being excluded from foster care and adoption programs, as has happened in other states, because they will not place a child in a home headed by a same-sex couple. It protects a business or agency that prohibits men from using the women’s restroom.
This bill is narrowly written and does not authorize discrimination against homosexual people as a class, but it does allow refusal to assist in a same-sex wedding. Circuit clerks can refuse to sign a marriage license, but only if there is someone else available to sign it so that it is “not impeded or delayed…”
It allows a doctor to refuse services only for sex change procedures and prohibits withholding emergency treatment to cure an illness or injury.