Hutchinson City, KN. – Hutchinson City Kansas is about to jump head first into the marriage equality debate. The Hutchinson City Council will consider adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes in the city’s human relations code. This would effectively force churches and other houses of worship to rent their halls to gay couples to perform and celebrate weddings.
According to the statute to be voted on no church will be allowed to rent their hall to the general public while discriminating against a “against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party.”
Meryl Dye, a spokesperson for the Human Relations Commission confirmed that churches would be subject to the ordinance,
“They would not be able to discriminate against gay and lesbian or transgender individuals,” Dye said. “That type of protection parallels to what you find in race discrimination. If a church provides lodging or rents a facility they could not discriminate based on race. It’s along that kind of thinking.”
Matthew Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel Action, told Fox News the proposed law is “un-American.”
“It is a collision course between religious freedom and the LGBT agenda,” Staver said. “This proposed legislation will ultimately override the religious freedom that is protected under the First Amendment.”
He said that constitutionally the government cannot force a church to engage in behavior that is against its beliefs. He even speculated that eventually the churches could be used for drag parties.
“What we are ultimately going to see is churches forced to confront this law, forced to do things and allow their facilities to be used by people and for events that diametrically undercut the mission of the church,”
The City Council said the law would say that if a church denied renting to a gay couple that they would be investigated and fined.
Gary Ridge, an associate pastor of Westside Baptist Church, said his church would not listen to the ordinance even if it meant fines.
“We apply the Bible to our lives. When there is a contradiction between what the city council asks and what the Bible says, we are going to follow the Bible. This is an opportunity for the LGBT community to cram their belief system down on our community. It may look like a small step, but it’s not the end. Before you know it they will be able to shut down churches for preaching Romans 1:26-27. We’ll be sued for refusing to have homosexual weddings.”
Even though Hutchinson is a small city in rural Kansas, if this vote passes this will be the Marriage Equality movement’s first real win in the bible belt. Then we see where it all goes from there.