I don’t know what’s going on down here in the South, but it seems like quite a few states have lost their damn minds. Last month, Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly passed what was, at the time, the most sweeping anti-LGBT legislation in the country. Not to be outdone, Mississippi passed a religious “freedom” law that considerably ups the ante in the “Craziest State In The Union” Sweepstakes. Then, South Carolina senator Lee Bright (R) introduced a bathroom bill for his state. And, finally, the Tennessee legislature passed a law that will allow therapists and counselors to reject patients that violate their “sincerely held principles.” What the fuck, y’all?!?
I’ve told you several times about North Carolina’s “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act”, aka House Bill 2 (here, if you’re interested), so I won’t waste anymore space on that. Instead, let’s talk about these other legislative abominations. In thinking about how to order this list, I considered chronologically, geographically and alphabetically. But, in the end, I decided to go with least offensive to most offensive (in my opinion, of course):
- First up is Tennessee’s HB 1840. I find this the least offensive of all these turds for two reasons: 1) it is the narrowest in scope and 2) while it is discriminatory, I’m not so sure that it doesn’t do LGBT folks a favor by keeping them away from providers who would not see a patient based on some bullshit religious belief. Oh, I’m sorry, that should have said “sincerely held principle”. Seriously, what kind of mental health professional are you if you can’t put aside your prejudice and help someone who’s hurting? Hell, what kind of human being are you?
- Next is South Carolina’s Senate Bill 1203. Palmetto State senator Lee Bright (R) stole a page from NC’s law to craft a bill that says “Units of local government in this State may not enact local laws, ordinances, orders, or other regulations that require a place of public accommodation…to allow a person to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility regardless of the person’s biological sex.” Right, so not only does Bright want to codify discrimination, he wants to stomp on local administrations while he’s doing it. So much for the Republican ideals of “small government” and “local control”.
- And, finally, there’s Mississippi. Two weeks after North Carolina’s law was passed, lawmakers from the Hospitality State (that’s actually one of Mississippi’s nicknames. Oh, the irony) enacted what has been called “one of the most sweeping of the nation’s ‘religious liberty’ bills”. HB 1523 will allow bigots of all stripes (governmental, private sector and health care workers) to deny services to people who are LGBT on the basis of their religious beliefs; that those beliefs are ‘sincerely held’ goes without saying.
There’s one aspect to all these bills that boggles the mind: each of them either came up for consideration or were passed after the shitstorm of backlash from HB 2 was rocking North Carolina. I cannot for the life of me figure out how a state could look at what’s going on here and say, “Hey, that looks good. We should get us some of that.”
Since Governor Pat “Coal Ash” McCrory signed NC’s
economic death warrant HB2, businesses have left, entertainment acts have begun boycotting us (Justin Bieber may the biggest act that’s still coming. Justin…Fucking…Bieber) and, perhaps worst of all, Georgia looks more progressive than us. Georgia, people; a place where the state flag is the old Confederate Stars and Bars with the state seal incorporated. That state is now considered more progressive than North Carolina. Do you have the slightest inkling how fucked up that is??? If you’re thinking about joining us down here in the muck, I don’t believe you do.