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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

LGBT rights have faced ongoing attack this week, as bills passed in both North Carolina and Indiana that limited discriminatory protections against marginalized groups.

North Carolina and Indiana’s governors both signed into law bills effectively opening the door for sexual discrimination. In North Carolina, House Bill 2 restricted washroom use by transgender people by legislating they must use facilities corresponding to the stated gender on their birth certificates, in response to Charlotte’s expansion of its non-discrimination ordinance to protect transgender rights in late February. It also rolled back protections against employment discrimination.

In Indiana, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allowed companies to cite religious beliefs as a defense in lawsuits alleging discrimination. The bill’s opponents claimed its phrasing would open the door to widespread discrimination, especially in light of the religious beliefs defense used by some bakers to deny same-sex couples service. The law, which Indiana Governor Mike Pence counted as a major achievement, was signed in a closed ceremony in the state capitol and was portrayed as a reaction to Indianans’ feelings that their religious freedoms were being infringed upon by things like marriage equality.

Republican-held legislatures’ anti-LGBT efforts are the first sustained conservative response to last year’s Supreme Court ruling, which effectively legalized gay marriage across the country. “As the leftist agenda pushers charge ‘forward’ and courts rule against the will of citizens and states’ rights,” Breitbart told its readers, “Constitutional conservatives are mounting up with plans to defend the rights and power granted them under the United States Constitution.”

Key to the post-ruling battle was framing the debate as a states’ rights issue. “States’ rights on marriage is effectively dead, and along with it, much of what was once marriage in America,” wrote John-Henry Westen for The Daily Caller shortly after the verdict. Before dropping out of the Republican presidential race, Marco Rubio echoed similar arguments in an interview with Chuck Todd last December. “If you want to change the definition of marriage, then you need to go to state legislatures and get them to change it, because states have always defined marriage,” he said.

Social conservatives are at an advantage on the state level: the party holds 31 governorships across the country and 68 of 98 state legislatures. In 23 states, Republicans control the governor’s mansion and both legislative chambers. Democrats have similar “trifectas” in just seven states.

That power differential has made it easier for a host of conservative legislation to pass on a state level. Gender, sexuality, and abortion protections have long been (and still remain) under threat from Republican controlled legislatures, including most recently in one of the most restrictive abortion laws in history, in Indiana.

Opponents of North Carolina’s new law have staged protests outside the state capitol, and corporations including Apple, Google, Dow Chemical, the NBA and others have announced their opposition as well. The ACLU, meanwhile, announced today that it was suing the state for the unconstitutional restrictions put in place by HB-2.

Laws that restrict LGBT rights are often incubated by conservative Christian groups like the Christian Action League and the North Carolina Values Coalition. The #keepNCsafe campaign, an invention of the NCVC, rallied support in favor of passing of HB-2, and both organizations sent representatives to speak before senate committees.

The state-level civil rights grab is a long conservative tradition, but not all recent efforts have been successful. The turnaround of Georgia’s governor Nathan Deal, who promised to veto a similar bill awaiting his signature, was largely the result of corporate pressure. Without boycott threats that would have deprived Georgia of billions of dollars, Deal likely wouldn’t have vetoed a bill that sailed through both the Republican-controlled house and senate.

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9 responses to “Republicans’ Anti-LGBT Laws Have Been Months In The Making”

  1. 1standlastword says:

    It was Easter Sunday in Lahore Pakistan where a bomber blew himself up in the midst of mostly women and children killing about 76 people many of them fellow Muslims but this was an attack on Christians on their high holy holiday: this is the utmost extreme people take to defend their faith. Now, to the lessor extreme we have our Evangelical Religious Freedom movement that want to impose laws that not only discriminate against LGBTQ people but also against other self-professed Christians of a different sect or creed.

    Why do people of faith take such extremes (violent and nonviolent) to control the living space of others outside of their faith? I ask because when it comes down to their salvation before their gods what does it matter what other people do?!

    I’m convinced that any form of religion that sanctions killing non-believer and/or controlling the living space of others is the devils work!

    So keep up with doing the devils work so that we may know you by the work you do!!
    Matthew 7:15-20King James Version (KJV)

    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

  2. Otto T. Goat says:

    The laws aren’t anti-sodomite, they are pro-freedom to associate.

    • 1standlastword says:

      Pro-freedomites should mind their own business the way sodomites do when they go into their own bedrooms!!

      The problem with American Christians is they want to create heaven on Earth but they fail to understand that they haven’t and can’t create anything but destruction, misery and strife

      • Otto T. Goat says:

        That’s what these laws protect, the ability of people to mind their own business.

        • 1standlastword says:

          All the evidence supports the intent of these laws to allow Evangelical Christians the “special” privilege to discriminate against other humans with different values– to oppose their rightful place in free and open society, including access to goods and services

          No different than the laws that disallowed blacks to sit at the lunch counter or share the swimming pool with whites

          And then the bizarre twist when people of other faiths or the same faith with some “legal” alteration are refused for employment in a tax susidized business or organization

        • Sand_Cat says:

          They protect the “right” of people to mind others’ business, and you know it.

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