History repeats: Have we learned anything?

Caitlin Husted, Senior Editor

America has made strides towards being a non-discriminatory nation over the years. However, if Kansas lawmakers pass the bill allowing businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples, America is going to end up taking a major step backwards in its journey towards equality.

The bill passed with a 72 to 49 final vote from the House and reserves businesses the right to deny their services to same-sex couples.

According to msnbc.com, if this law is put into effect it would “allow any individual, business or state employee to deny gay couples everything from wedding services to unemployment benefits, as long as the reason for doing so involves a strong religious objection to homosexuality.”

The truly disheartening part of this law is that if a same-sex couple approached a police officer or firefighter for assistance, the officer or firefighter has the right to refuse. I understand that freedom of religion is a sensitive subject, but it’s time to get real. When our own lawmakers threaten the safety or protection of American citizens, there is a serious problem.

This law is a step towards the discrimination of homosexuals. Does America really want to go down that road again? Something similar happened before and this seems to be one of America’s favorite past times.

When people first started traveling to America, Native Americans inhabited the land. And what did the explorers do? They made them feel as if they were unwelcome in their own home. Then after World War II, Japanese Americans received the same treatment. And if that wasn’t enough, up until the 1960s, African-Americans were also segregated. These acts of discrimination did not help America move forward as a country, but instead caused destruction and chaos. If anything, America needs to come together in order to push us into a new phase of life, instead of trying to separate its citizens.

All throughout school, students sit down in history classes and look at the mistakes our country, along with many other countries, have made in the years past in order to “learn from our mistakes.” Apparently, lawmakers need to take a history class or two to update themselves on America’s experience with discrimination. It doesn’t end well for either side.

What I really don’t understand is how lawmakers think this is okay. Same-sex couples may not be making the same life choices as them, but why would lawmakers think that they deserve to be denied service? We are all one in the same. Humans. Lovers. Fighters. Dreamers. No one deserves to be looked at differently or be denied anything due to their life decisions.

Maybe it’s time to actually begin learning from our mistakes and not go down this road again. Maybe it’s time to trade this battle in for peace.