Did the senate save SB100 supporters from themselves?

Used with permission from Ben Winslow (source)
Used with permission from Ben Winslow (source)

Kenny Rogers said “you’ve gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”. He was talking about gambling, obviously, but I’d like to think it applies to politics as well. Much like poker, the political process sometimes requires that you give up a hand in pursuit of the bigger picture. There’s no point in winning a battle if it’ll cost you the war. Curiously, SB100 supporters seem to think otherwise, and the senate may have saved them from themselves by killing it.

It wasn’t just SB100 that got put on ice this year. In the wake of the surprise Amendment 3 ruling, several legislators wanted to push through religious freedom bills similar to the deeply misunderstood SB 1062 from Arizona. This would have spelled almost certain doom for SB100, even if it passed, because it would have created an acceptable defense in court for non-compliance (even if the courts would have to evaluate the sincerity of the claims on a case-by-case basis). And the odds of SB100 getting passed by the legislature? Let’s just say that any bookie would be happy to take your money on that one.

Now ask yourself this: is SB100 going to be back next year? And the year after? And every year until it passes? That same bookie wouldn’t take that bet at all. But what about the religious liberty bills? Would those come back? If the coverage of SB 1062 is any indication, probably not. Despite being worded in a legally sound way to allow a defense of religious conscious to be presented and reviewed by the courts, it was turned into something else entirely and is now political poison. I’d be surprised if any such bills even got out of committee.

This is where LGBT activists almost became their own worst enemy. They were so focused on getting a legislative win this year that they were not looking at the big picture. That’s why Senator Urquhart tried to tell them that the protest wasn’t helping. He’s been part of the process long enough to know how to effectively play the long game. Maybe you folks should write Senate President Wayne Niederhauser a thank you note. After all, he likely saved you from yourselves.

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