Around the country, Republican lawmakers have passed a series of anti-LGBT bills just in time for an election year. Or perhaps they’ve been inspired by Confederate Heritage Month?
So-called ‘religious freedom restoration acts‘ are transparent attempts to enshrine protection for anti-gay bigotry into law. Born in angry reaction to court rulings that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, the momentum of this legislative fad seemed to stall last year after public backlash forced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to sign a legislative fix to his much-ballyhooed RFRA.
But now a new wave of RFRAs is sweeping the country along with other anti-LGBT laws.
Last month, Georgia Republicans passed an RFRA against the clear warning of Gov. Nathan Deal, who wisely vetoed the legislation. But this week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB 1523, which extends an unconstitutionally broad protection over anyone who discriminates for ostensibly-religious reasons.
Like other governors who sign such bills, Bryant has received the thanks of hate groups and anti-gay extremists for doing so.
Yesterday, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that would allow mental health counselors and therapists to refuse service to anyone based on their “sincerely held religious belief.”
But the hot new culture war craze is telling transgender people where to pee.
Alarmed by the Charlotte city council’s decision to extend discrimination protections to transgender residents, last month North Carolina’s ‘small government’ lawmakers held a special session to pass a bill wiping out all such local ordinances.
This week, South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright introduced a bill modeled on the one in North Carolina by spewing the same baseless smears about men supposedly molesting girls in bathrooms disguised as transgender men. No actual record of such a criminal scenario has ever been produced by those who tout it.
So-called ‘bathroom bills,’ and their attendant culture war campaigns, have become a common means of exploiting unfounded fears and stereotypes in order to pass anti-LGBT legislation.
Sen. Bright displayed his animosity toward the LGBT community and its supporters on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“I’ve about had enough of this,” Bright told his colleagues, WYFF reports. “I mean, years ago we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance and tolerance. And now they want men who claim to be women to be able to go into bathrooms with children. And you got corporations who say this is OK.”
Sen. Bright did mention to his colleagues the vast number of corporations that have asked Gov. Pat McCrory to repeal North Carolina’s HB2. Several companies have now pulled over 1000 jobs out of the Tar Heel state. Among them, Paypal, which just canceled a $3.6 million expansion that would have added 400 jobs.
Bright actually said, “PayPal has shown its support for pedophiles by wanting them to go into bathrooms.” He also said, “the silent majority is watching.”
Last night, the Tennessee House Education Administration & Planning Committee advanced a bill that would force transgender children to use school restrooms and locker rooms according to the gender on their birth certificate.
South Dakota Republicans passed a similar bill in March, but Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed it.
Republicans are also pushing ‘bathroom bills’ in Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, and Wisconsin.
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