Our Legislature’s mother-son duo, Lana and Brock Greenfield, evidently don’t understand the word discrimination.
UNESCO defines discrimination as “the selection for unfavourable treatment of an individual or individuals on the basis of gender, race, colour or ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, social class, age (subject to the usual conventions on retirement), marital status or family responsibilities, or as a result of any conditions or requirements that do not accord with the principles of fairness and natural justice.”
Responding to a question at yesterday’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel about her vote for Senate Bill 149, the harmful and discriminatory measure to allow adoption agencies to deny services to same-sex couples and any other parents whom the agency deems not right with the agency’s Lord, Representative Lana Greenfield said she knows all about discrimination, because she’s a victim:
Evoking her own personal experience with discrimination as a restaurant owner, District 2 Rep. Lana Greenfield compared Senate Bill 149 to a state law passed 2009 that prohibited smoking in workplaces, restaurants, bars, video lottery and casinos.
“I was discriminated against because I could not put up a sign on my door that said ‘yes, this is a smoking establishment’ or ‘no we don’t allow smoking here,’” Greenfield said [Shannon Marvel, “Child Placement Bill Discussed Protecting Religious Beliefs,” Aberdeen American News, 2017.03.04].
This is the part where I had to put the paper down and wait twelve hours before writing.
Representative Greenfield, the situation your describe is not discrimination. The displeasure you experienced at having to obey a law approved by the voters in 2010 bears no resemblance, in principle or degree, to the discrimination some parents in South Dakota will experience when SB 149 allows child-placement agencies to deny them the opportunity to adopt a child.
Representative Greenfield, discrimination is not what you experience when you have to comply with a law that you don’t like. It is not discrimination to have to drive the speed limit, apply for a building permit, or send smokers outside to reduce health risks for patrons and workers in bars and restaurants, because we impose those requirements on everyone who drives, builds, or tends bar. The indoor smoking ban (SDCL 34-46-14) does not discriminate against white, female, Christian Lana Greenfield or anyone else.
While Lana makes up discrimination where there is none, her son, Senator Brock Greenfield, denies discrimination where it plainly exists:
District 2 Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said the bill was not discriminating against anyone based on religious beliefs but releasing private placement services from being dictated by government policy.
“So simply put, this is not about discrimination its about allowing a private sector with a religious tie to determine whether they are going to engage in providing adoption services for people,” he said [Marvel, 2017.03.04].
Paper down, breathe, distract….
Senator Greenfield, Southern lunch counters in the 1950s were private dining services. We enacted government policy to dictate that they had to serve black customers alongside white customers. Would like to release those poor, oppressed private services from that government policy?
SB 149 is not about determining whether to provide adoption services for people. SB 149 is about allowing adoption agencies to provide adoption service to some people but not to other people based on religious convictions, which will be used to justify discriminating against prospective parents who fail to meet certain religious litmus tests.
SB 149 is all about discrimination. Senator Greenfield, I suggest you may not believe that statement, or you may not care, only because you imagine you are a good enough Christian that you would never be subjected to the discrimination SB 149 intends.
Senator Greenfield, I can imagine that discrimination being applied to me. I’m a reasonably good parent (my child is literate and mostly happy, and she will be fed, dressed, and at the school door in the morning by 7:55), but if I ever decide to open my home to another child, I can easily imagine your favored adoption agencies saying, “You can’t be a good parent because you don’t go to our church….”
…to which my immediate, heartfelt response is the reason I needed to put the paper down and chill before writing this response.
Representative Lana Greenfield, you don’t know discrimination. Senator Brock Greenfield, you won’t admit discrimination.
Senate Bill 149 is discrimination that Lana and Brock want to write into state law. We should pressure the Senate and the Governor to stop that from happening.