I'm all for compromise. I understand that oftentimes at the political level it's the only way to get things done and some change is often better than none.
In fact, I back laws to support civil unions for gay couples instead of gay marriage because the important thing to me is the result not the nomenclature. I understood that in order to pass a smoking ban at the state level, there would need to be stupid exceptions involving casinos and mom-and-pop bars.
But everybody draws the line somewhere.
And I draw it here:
If you're passing a non-discrimination bill, you shouldn't let anyone discriminate. Either it's right or it's wrong. Yet Allegheny County council just passed a bill that said you can't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity EXCEPT if you're a charitable, fraternal, or religious organization. What??? If you're a blood-sucking corporation, you better not discriminate but if you're a "charitable" organization, you can?
And as Sarah Rose, an attorney with the ACLU says:
"the problem with the current version of the bill is that it gives certain religious organizations an advantage over other groups, thereby violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." Luckily for the religious organizations in Allegheny county, the courts take a long time to sort these things out, so they'll be able to discriminate ad nauseum for the next decade or so.
So here's a shout-out to the Pittsburgh city council who managed to pass an anti-discrimination bill back in 1990 without resorting to illegal compromises. I implore you to do the same in regards to smoking.
Joe Sestak Walks Across Pennsylvania (UPDATED)
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