“You need to fess up to it ,” legislator speaks out against discrimination

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A controversial bill is building in the State House of Reprentatives.

You may recall, the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act would allow business owners to refuse service to people in the LGBT community. But now an amendment tacked on this week could put everyone's beliefs out in the open.

Rep. Emily Virgin (D - Norman) says the proposed bill basically legalizes discrimination.

So she added a possible game changer into the bill.

Business owners who will refuse service to the gay community would have to post it on their website and right on their front door.

It would be a bold move for business owners: posting your beliefs for all to see.

"If you want to discriminate under this law if it passes, then you're legally allowed to do that, but you need to own it. You need to fess up to it," Rep. Virgin said.

The original bill - the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act - would allow business owners to refuse business to gay people if they don't agree with their beliefs. The author claims it's to protect the owners' religious freedom. Rep. Virgin doesn't buy it.

"I was pretty flabbergasted because it harkens back to a time when we were legalizing discrimination on the basis of race, basis of gender, many other things that now just seem silly," Virgin said.

Bonnie Amspacher is the owner of the diner in downtown Norman.

They post a different kind of sign on their front window. It reads: "all are welcome."

"I think if people are going to choose to discriminate against people they should advertise it," Amspacher said.

Others in the service industry say it's bad business.

"It's going to come back and bite you in the end in terms of business practices because your customers are not going to appreciate that, and word of mouth is the best advertising you can have," Charles Brunell said.

Since business owners already have the right to refuse service to folks, Virgin says this bill is just a blatant smear to the gay community.

"I'm shocked by the focus on it because we have so many other things to focus on in the legislature," Virgin said.

This bill, along with several others, came in response to the legalization of gay marriage in Oklahoma. It passed through committee but has not yet been heard on the House floor.

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