After supporting discrimination in a quote to the New York Times,
Oklahoma state senator doubles down with new comments
WASHINGTON— Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) highlighted new comments from Oklahoma state Senator Joseph Silk, who has quickly attracted national infamy for his commitment to passing laws targeting his LGBT fellow Oklahomans.
In Silk’s original comments to the New York Times last week, he argued that LGBT people, “don’t have a right to be served in every single store. […] People need to have the ability to refuse service if it violates their religious convictions.”
In a new statement posted to his campaign website over the weekend, Senator Silk doubled down, even in the face of controversy. His comments are best appreciated in full (emphasis added):
An interview I had recently with the New York Times has gained a substantial amount of attention, so I thought it appropriate to clarify my views on this issue.
A bill that I recently introduced (SB 440) would protect businesses and religious entities who run their organizations according to their religious beliefs from being forced to violate their religious convictions in their businesses.
This has outraged the LGBT community and they are crying discrimination while making themselves the only "target", in reality it has nothing to do with them. The intent of the bill is to protect private property rights and religious liberty. As a legislator, I will always fight to protect people's liberty to live their lives according to their beliefs and convictions.
People have a right to be homosexual and I will always protect that. However that right does not give them an excuse to trample another person's right to live out their religious beliefs in their place of business.
The problem with the current LGBT movement is that they have zero tolerance or consideration of other peoples rights, and yes they are a threat to our freedoms and liberties in the United States and Oklahoma. I am not questioning the rights of the LGBT movement, I believe they have the right to live how they want to live. They, on the other hand, are launching a massive campaign that is attempting to strip other people's individual liberties away if they hold different beliefs...this is complete intolerance.
Yes I did say that homosexuals do not have the right to be served in every store, just as I do not believe that I, my family, or anyone else have the right to be served in every private business. The right to provide services should be the decision of the business owners. We need to keep our country free and stop this radical, intolerant, movement.
In response to Silk’s new comments, HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow issued the following statement:
“Senator Silk may see himself as a crusader, but the argument he is making actually supports undermining the state and federal laws that desegregated lunch counters, ensured guide dogs would be welcome in retail shops, and guaranteed every American equal access to our shared public spaces. There’s no legal basis for Senator Silk's assertions, they are rooted entirely in dislike for a particular group of people, and that is a terrible way to make policy.”
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