Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mississippi Digs Deeper, Finds More and Better Ways to Discriminate

Methodist Chaplain Rev. Chris Donald
speaks at a protest of the anti-LGBT bill last week. 
Many states have considered bills that enable discrimination against the LGBT community, but Mississippi's proposed legislation is perhaps the most explicit in this regard.  HB 1523 spells out in storied detail all the different ways that a person should be able to mistreat people for being LGBT without consequences from the government.

The bill does not pretend to be neutral; it only protects people with anti-LGBT religious beliefs and nobody else...

...(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
(c) Male (man) or female )woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

eye'm thynkin':  Nine months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage is a right.  Just this past week, a U.S. District Court Judge struck down Mississippi's ban against same-sex couples adopting. But the Mississippi legislature isn't going to let a little thing like judicial rulings or moral fairness stand in the way of state-sponsored discrimination.  In fact, this new bill goes into such far-reaching specifics of government sanctioned discrimination that other anti-LGBT states are going to be pea-green with envy. 

Of course, in their zeal to make sure all protections for LGBT people are eliminated, Mississippi seems to have gotten a little carried away (or maybe it was purposeful, who knows) and left loopholes large enough that will allow evangelical Christians in their state to discriminate against just about anyone.

Specifics like:  "Any person can choose not to provide treatment, counseling, or surgery related to gender transition or same-sex parenting."

So when a gay teen with suicidal thoughts seeks counseling, some right-wing nutcase can refuse to help.  How proud Mississippi must be to make sure that the opportunity to increase the number of teen suicides will now be provided by state law.

Or this: "Any person can establish 'sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming...'"  

Obviously aimed at the trans-gender community, the Mississippi legislature has technically left the door open for an employer who doesn't like women in pants to set "sex-specific standards," and to insist that all female employees wear dresses and heels. A woman who fails to comply can be fired with no legal recourse. 

Conservatives have lost the fight against same-sex marriage, so now they're falling all over themselves to be the loudest voice against transgender people.  No evidence of the existence of a problem in need of a solution is necessary, only a Bible-thumping zeal to castigate anyone who is different.  It's like the Republican voter ID thing.  They can't actually come up with any examples of a transgender person committing violence against a straight person (especially in a restroom), but they're sure it's out there somewhere and they're going to protect their women, their children and their God against it!

Read more, including a list of Mississippi's many, specific "Get Away with Discrimination Free" cards at Think Progress

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