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CO's former AG makes ludicrous distinction between sixties discrimination and its modern iteration

by Jeremy Hooper

Colorado's now-former Attorney General (as of yesterday) John Suthers, a Republican, recently gave this "explanation" for why the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was fine and good, but why the laws that protect LGBT customers today are supposedly wrong and bad:

Johnwsuthers CropSuthers: I think what’s different, Jimmy, [between] 1964 and the time of the Civil Rights cases is, if a black person when into a restaurant in the South in 1963 and was refused service, he couldn’t walk into a restaurant next door and get service, for the most part. Everybody was refused service. That’s not the atmosphere we have today. We have this guy, who as a matter of his religious beliefs, would prefer not to do that. We have plenty of guys down the street who are perfectly willing to do it. I just don’t think it’s the same atmosphere. I think the legislature ought to be sensitive to that fact. But the Colorado legislature, with the majority at certain points in time, has not been.

This is truly one of the most ludicrous distinctions I've ever heard. I mean, most of us know that these folks began with biases and then proceeded to back into their "justifications"—but this one takes the cake!

It also speaks to the intrinsic hubris that propels all of these "religious freedom" proposals designed to discriminate against LGBT people. Obviously discrimination is not better, nicer, or more acceptable if it is more limited. But in the telling of Mr. Suthers and others, it's as if these chosen vendors get to be these special little flowers who get to break from the broader culture because they have special, enlightened, godly knowledge. It's as if serving the gay couple is perfectly okay for those mere mortals down the road, but not for the for-profit vendors who made the choice to pray a certain way.

It's untenable. It's unconscionable. It's unAmerican.

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