Separate and unequal

What we are witnessing in politics is shameful. The laws that are being proposed by state legislators are appalling and dangerous. How is this sort of thinking still possible in 2016? We are taking major steps back in the civil rights movement when laws like House Bill 757 in Georgia, and House Bill 2 in North Carolina are introduced and voted on by state legislators. In the case of House Bill 757, GA governor Nathan Deal announced that he would be vetoing the bill, amid mounting pressure from corporations that do business in Georgia. Essentially this bill gave faith-based organizations the right to discriminate against the LGBT community based on “religious liberty”.

Last week, the North Carolina legislator introduced House Bill 2 and Gov. Pat McCrory signed the law just 12 hours after its introduction in a special legislative session. House Bill 2 declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment, and public accommodations.  The law also directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multi-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, be designated for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate. Transgender people can use the bathroom and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity only if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed. This law comes on the heels of a Charlotte, North Carolina ordinance that was approved and set to take effect April 1. The ordinance was supposed to prohibit discrimination in housing and public accommodations based on someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

How does this type of discrimination still have life in 2016? Southern lawmakers have decided to apply the same Jim Crow logic their predecessors used when enacting these new laws. These laws serve no other purpose but to humiliate and degrade the LGBT community. By passing such laws, lawmakers are arming mobs fueled by hate with justification for their actions. If a transgender woman is being forced to use a MEN’S restroom, the consequences can be catastrophic for that woman if some crazy person decided to start beating the hell out of her for being in there. Why are we passing laws that put people in danger? Do people really believe that a sex offender would go to such great lengths, by changing his/her gender; to gain access into the opposite sex’s restroom or locker room to fulfill their deviant urges?

Hate and intolerance have become a platform for mainstream politics and the platform some candidates choose to take up, and many people are responding to that sentiment. If pressure isn’t exerted by businesses and opposing lawmakers to strike down these types of laws, then we are doomed as a society and the enactment of harsher and more discriminatory laws will become expected and accepted. Americans need to stand up and be heard, they need to vote these people out of office and remind these lawmakers that we have put this ugly chapter behind us as a country. We will not trade one group for another and discriminate against the LGBT community. Religious liberty is protected by the constitution, that doesn’t mean that freedom gives people the right to exclude others by passing laws discriminatory laws.



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