Thursday, February 26, 2015

QUEER QUOTE: The Text Of What Anti-Gay Legislation Looks Like In A Post-Marriage Equality Era

Realizing that they have essentially completely lost the fight over marriage equality, heterosexual supremacists and homophobes and people who do not believe that LGBT people should enjoy the same civil rights as other targeted minorities have found a new way to enshrine discrimination against LGBT people in state law.

Here is the text of the West Virginia's copy-cat bill of the Arkansas law that was enacted earlier this week which prohibits and invalidates any ordinance in the state that protects LGBT people from discrimination.

It's called the West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act (HB 2881) and is today's Queer Quote:
(a) No county, municipality or other political subdivision may adopt or enforce a local law, ordinance, resolution, rule or policy that creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.
(b) Any local law, ordinance, resolution, rule or policy adopted before the operative date of this act that violates subsection (a) of this section shall be null and void.
Notice how similar this text is to Arkansas' Senate Bill 202:
14-1-403. Prohibited conduct.
(a) A county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state shall not adopt or enforce an ordinance, resolution, rule, or policy that creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.
(b) This section does not apply to a rule or policy that pertains only to the employees of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision.
I have no doubt that this will be a popular idea among Republicans in many other state legislatures. It will be interesting to see how LGBT advocacy organization react. What's amazing to me is that the sponsors of these legislation are still using the language of "no special rights" that first became popular over 25 years ago and was thought to have ben neutralized by the Supreme Court decision Romer v Evans striking down a Colorado ballot measure that explicitly prevented the enactment of ordinances that protected LGBT people. The difference now is that the "no special rights" crowd are no masking their anti-gay bigotry in the notion of "uniformity." In other words if a state does not have state protections for LGBT individuals then that condition should be uniform, and local municipalities and cities should not be allowed to have local ordinances doing so. Because otherwise LGBT people would have the "special right" of being able to sue someone if they were prohibited access to public transportation, denied service in restaurants and private businesses or fired from a job or denied housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Do you really think in 2015 a majority of Americans believe the right to not face discrimination because of an identity characteristic is a "special right"? Good luck with that.

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