Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is disappointed that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, which would have allowed businesses to use their religious beliefs to justify discrimination against LGBT people. That’s because he believes that homosexuality is defined as “self-professed behavior,” which shouldn’t be protected under the law, as he explained to WHO TV in Des Moines:
KING: It’s clear in the civil rights section of the code that you can’t discriminate against people based upon — and I’m not sure I’ve got the list right — but race, creed, religion, color of skin — those kind of things. And there’s nothing mentioned in there on self-professed behavior. And that’s what they’re trying to perfect is special rights for self-professed behavior. And I think it’s difficult for us to define a law that would protect behavior.
King said he wasn’t sure if being gay is a choice — though he did suggest he thinks sexual orientation could be changed — but he expressed concern that people might claim to be gay just to trick anti-gay businesses into discriminating against them so that they can file suit:
KING: The one thing that I reference when I say “self-professed” is: how do you know who to discriminate against? They about have to tell you. And, you know, are they then setting up a case? Is this about bringing a grievance or is it actually about a service that they’d like to have? And doesn’t free enterprise provide that service if the demand is there? Someone can open up a cake shop, can’t they?
The full interview can be viewed on WHO’s website.
King’s comment is an admission that Arizona’s bill and efforts like it are very much about allowing for discrimination against gay people, despite many of their proponents’ claims to the contrary. Just because another business might be willing to provide a service doesn’t undo the psychological harm committed by the act of discrimination.
King’s home state of Iowa already protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. A case is currently playing out there where an art gallery that hosts wedding ceremonies refused to host a same-sex wedding. Not only did the victims of that discrimination file a complaint, but the gallery has since filed a countersuit, attempting to overturn the state’s nondiscrimination protections on religious grounds.