Businesses should not be legally allowed to refuse service to patrons based on their beliefs

On March 26, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill allowed businesses the right to turn away anyone on the basis of religion. On April 2, the bill was amended to protect gays and lesbians, after thousands protested the bill, arguing that it was a vehicle used to protect discrimination against the LGBT community.

Despite the massive backlash in Indiana, a similar bill is being considered in Texas. Legislators have addressed the possibility of introducing an amendment to Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act from 1999. The amendment would allow Texas businesses the right to deny anyone service on the basis of religion.

If passed, this amendment will prove to be unjust, unconstitutional and against the very morals this country has come to be recognized for.

Businesses that are legally allowed to turn away customers on the basis of religious preference, not only defy the basic logic of business and making money, but also stifle the LGBT progress that has been made within the last ten years.

Much of the discussion hinges on the definition of marriage. Many religious groups define marriage as a relationship solely between a man and woman. Additionally, many religious groups believe that sexual identity is an individual’s choice.

But since 1973, the American Psychiatric Association has removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

The belief that homosexuality is a choice — and the wrong one — condemns a community based on a set of beliefs that is integral to and inseparable from their identity.

In this way, the push for LGBT equal rights mirrors the civil rights movement throughout the 1960s. There is no difference in denying service based on religious beliefs than on skin color.

While businesses have the right to deny service, it is important to specify under what context. Denying service based on disruptiveness or not wearing shoes or a shirt differs from denying service based on something someone cannot change.

Equal rights and opportunities should be afforded to people of all races, genders and religions. The passing of this proposed amendment to Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act would discriminate and target a group that only wants to be treated justly. Should these measures pass, Texas will persecute its own residents.