BY ED SIKOV | “Religious freedom” is the putative goal of Mississippi’s vicious new anti-LGBT law, which passed on the heels of North Carolina’s blatantly discriminatory new hate-LGBT legislation. As Ian Millhiser of Think Progress writes, “The Mississippi law… explicitly singles out LGBT people ‘for disfavored legal status’” — the term used by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his 1996 opinion in Romer v. Evans, which struck down a similar law in Colorado.
Milhiser continues, “The law begins with a declaration that ‘the sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that… marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman’ and that ‘male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth’ Additionally, the law also purports to give special rights to people who object to extramarital sex of all kinds. Though dressed up somewhat in the rhetoric of religious liberty, this declaration is about as explicit a statement as Mississippi could have mustered expressing animus towards LGBT individuals. It specifically identifies same-sex couples and trans people as the ‘solitary class’ disabled by the law.”
As such, it’s plainly unconstitutional.
Milhiser goes on to write, “The bulk of the rest of the law is a laundry list of the specific disabilities LGBT people will face if HB 1523 remains in effect… Thus, employers gain a special right to force trans women to wear traditionally male clothing, or vice-versa. Photographers, wedding planners, cake bakers, venues and other, similar services gain a special right to deny services to same-sex couples. Foster parents gain a special right to raise children to support marriage discrimination and to be anti-trans. Employers deemed ‘religious organizations’ gain the special right to fire any employee — from the chief executive to the janitor — for supporting marriage equality or for being trans.”
Here’s a bit of context: Mississippi refused to officially outlaw slavery until February 7, 2013. The state also ranks as the second least educated in the nation. (Only West Virginia is lower.)
On Twitter, Mike Signorile picked up on the hilarious fact that because the Mississippi law also covers those who have religious objections to heterosexual fornicators, Louisiana Senator David Vitter, the Republican diaper fetishist known to have paid prostitutes for Pampered sex, cannot travel across his state’s eastern border for fear of being denied service at any business he may want to patronize in Mississippi, while Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, currently facing impeachment threats after ludicrously denying an affair with his Republican senior political advisor, can’t cross the border traveling west.
On the other hand, NBC Nightly News managed to defang Mississippi’s vicious anti-LGBT law and turn it into a simple matter of debate. Anchor Lester Holt described it as a law that “some say is discriminatory.” Earth to Lester! Do other examples of things that “some say” are discriminatory include lunch counters at which blacks weren’t permitted to sit, Christians-only country clubs, and Native Americans being forced by the federal government onto worthless dustbowl reservations?
NBC’s Janet Shamlian offered an even more pointless description of the Mississippi law. In her utterly vapid, content-free report on the subject, she didn’t bother to devote even a few seconds to the reasons why “some say” the law is discriminatory, thereby making sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination seem like a matter for reasonable debate.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s recent anti-LGBT law is wreaking havoc on that state’s economy. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band canceled a concert; the entertainment company Lionsgate has pulled out of filming the pilot for a new TV series; PayPal is rethinking its plans to build a tech center; Biogen and Dow Chemical have both expressed their displeasure; and according to Forbes.com’s Dave Kroll, citing the Triangle Business Journal, “Braeburn Pharmaceuticals announced last week that they were reconsidering a $20 million expansion in Durham County that would bring 52 jobs at an average salary of over $75,000.”
Ah, but it’s all worth it. Anything to keep trans folks from peeing.
Quote without Comment
From TheFederalist.com, my favorite go-to source for crazed wingnut paranoia:
The headline: “Trans Mafia Put North Carolina In A Chokehold.”
The capsule overview: “The LGBT mob threatens states with economic and social violence because they know it works. Its latest target is North Carolina, but it won’t be the last.”
The wingnut’s message: “…We are living in an age of growing intolerance and prejudice: not from the scary white male conservative boogeymen who normally fill that role in the public’s perception, but from the ministers of liberal dogma themselves. Are you a clergy member who wants to uphold the ancient conjugal man-woman view of marriage? Tough luck. Do you want to protect your daughter from the predatory men who might take advantage of a well-meaning transgender bathroom access law? Sorry, you’re a bigot. Do you want to run your business in accordance with your sincere and reasonable beliefs? You’ll be run out of town.
“This is the LGBT mafia. This is what it does. It is what we have to live with now. If your legislature or governor wants to pass some modest piece of legislation that protects your right to live as you please, then they’ll make your state an offer it can’t refuse.”
And Really… Absolutely No Words for This
The “I’m speechless” portion of the column this week comes courtesy of David Moye of the Huffington Post: “There’s a new kink in North Carolina’s LGBT controversy: A popular porn website is banning all computers from ‘The Tar Heel State.’ XHamster.com has been refusing to serve anyone from North Carolina since12:30 p.m. EDT, Monday [April 11]. Instead, users with a North Carolina IP address are just seeing a black screen on their computer — no porn. The extreme measures will stay in place until North Carolina repeals House Bill 2, a law passed on March 23 that effectively prevents cities and counties in the state from passing rules that protect LGBT rights… XHamster may have good intentions by wanting to repeal HB2, but the company is contradicting itself by publicly supporting Donald Trump on its search page for ‘big cock,’ which features a ‘Make America Great Again’ ad that links to Trump’s website.”
An Open Letter to Joyce Wadler
Dear Ms. Wadler: It’s very odd to pick up the Times and read a comedy column about the idiots who live in your building. Why? Because it also happens to be my building. You’re a very funny writer, Ms. Wadler. Your column — “I Was Misinformed” — runs every other Thursday, and for the second time in a row, you have used our building as the ridiculous jumping off point for observations about bickering neighbors, sticky-fingered children clamoring to push all the elevator buttons, our compactor chute, and the current state of your garters, a subject about which, frankly, I would rather not even be misinformed.
I live two floors down from you, Ms. Wadler. I, too, have suffered the indignity of sharing the elevator with wrangling couples and hyperactive children. (Nota bene: I have not had any contact, visual or physical, with your garters. To my knowledge.) And since the compactor chute runs next to my bedroom wall, I am well aware that you throw your old high heels down the chute from time to time. (Is 2 a.m. really the best time to detox your shoe closet? I think not.)
As amusing as your column is, however, I must inform you that you are missing many, many tragicomic events, people, and pets in our building. I am on the co-op board, Ms. Wadler. And let me tell you — you have no idea.