There's a cute story that's been lighting up the science blogs over the weekend. Two straight men bought tickets for and wanted to go to "Date Night" at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, only to be turned away at the door and told that they would "add an un-Christian element to the event." The museum refuses to refund the tickets.
Did I say "cute"? I meant "terrible but typical." It's the Creation Museum, a place that tries to be a secular school of fundamentalist dogma, a weird mish-mash of worlds that ends up taking the Bible out of its spiritual context and saying it should be read as any nonfiction text is read, except it's special so no one can question their interpretation or the literal veracity of it.
And the people who devote their lives to that sort of idiocy are usually homophobic as well. Surprise.
What gets me about the generally pro-gay blog posts is how these straight folks think they've caught the Creation Museum doing something illegal and are practically tripping over themselves to say that one of the president's other, related projects should lose its shot at a $37 million tax break because he will illegally discriminate.
Except Kentucky law doesn't prohibit discrimination against LGBT people, something that even federal-level Democrats are reluctant to make law. We live in a country where most people oppose anti-LGBT discrimination but our government just plain doesn't want to outlaw it.
Here's Joe Sonka, one of the men refused entry:
And remember, these are the very same people that are claiming that they will not discriminate in hiring for their new Dineysore Ark Park in order to receive $40 million in tax breaks from our fearless leader, Governor Steve Beshear. This, despite the fact that their job advertisements for Ark Encounter explicitly state that applicants must sign a Christian oath purity pledge. And can you really expect Ken Ham to hire a gay employee and pay them money, when they won't even accept money from two men to attend their business, because the appearance of possible Gayness would make their heads explode?
Here's a local blogger, who was also there for the night but showed up with his girlfriend:
My girlfriend, who purchased the tickets, has already filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, which will get plenty of complaints once Ham's Ark Encounter starts violating equal-opportunity laws.
Here's Greg Laden, who wasn't there:
One thing that is interesting about this is that you can't get a State Tax Break if you discriminate in hiring. Well, allowing people in the room for dinner is not the same as hiring, but if I was the State of Kentucky about to give the Creation Museum a 40 million dollar tax break, I'd investigate their hiring practices very closely on the grounds of what happened two nights ago. By purely random chance, there MUST BE some gays and/or lesbians or SOMEBODY who is not straight working there, right? The state of Kentucky needs to find them and see how many of them there are and if they are being discriminated against. And so on and so forth.
There are probably LGBT people who work there, who probably don't mention it at work or are completely closeted, making a count impossible. Not that it would matter, since anti-gay discrimination is completely legal. Here're the protected categories under Kentucky law:
(If you can't see the image: "The Kentucky Equal Opportunity Act of 1978 prohibits discrimination by government contractors (with certain exceptions) with respect to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and age.")
No sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Kentucky is one of the 28 states where it's completely OK to discriminate against gays and one of 38 states where it's perfectly legal to discriminate against trans people. Someone could fire a lesbian and write her a letter saying, "Dear Beatrice, You're fired because you're a lesbian and I don't like it. Them's the breaks. Love, Fred," and then defend that as their god-given right in court.
That may change soon; 83% of the state supports such legislation. That's not a guarantee, though - people have been agitating for this for a while and more than 50% of Kentuckians have supported anti-discrimination rules, one would assume, for a long while now too, yet it hasn't become law.
If praying were enough, etc.
Even at the federal level, anti-discrimination law can't make it through the Senate and wasn't even considered on the floor of the House this past session when Democrats controlled everything, and that was for a bill that wouldn't have even covered this situation since it was only about employment protections.
I'm glad that they got to see that anti-gay discrimination is alive and well and these folks are supportive people, but if being supportive were enough these protections would already be in place. I hope they get a refund for a product they purchased but wasn't delivered and generate some publicity for the fact that most states allow anti-gay discrimination, since one of the big obstacles we face is just convincing supportive people that these protections don't already exist.