See, this is why we can’t have nice things!!
Last summer most people figured the battle for LGBT rights had reached its fruition when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. The assumption was that LGBT individuals would now be given the same rights as everyone else!
Recently there have been many states which have started to enact anti-LGBT legislation. What do these particular laws exactly do? For that, here’s our 10-Point Expert!
Point 1: National attention for these anti-LGBT laws started when Charlotte, North Carolina passed ordinances to stop businesses from discriminating against LGBT individuals. While many applauded the city ordinances, some conservatives in North Carolina’s state government were not as thrilled. So last month the North Carolina legislature went into special session to pass broad anti-LGBT legislation that would not only repeal local ordinances, like the one in Charlotte, but also bans the creation of future local laws that would help protect the LGBT community.
Point 2: There are specifically two major points that the new wave of anti-LGBT laws hit on in affecting the LGBT community.
- The state law overturns and bans all local and county laws in the books that might have protected LGBT individuals originally. So Charlotte’s law which passed ordinances that stopped businesses from discriminating against LGBT individuals is now overturned thanks to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT legislation.
Also another hot button issue in recent years has been bathroom and locker room use for transgender individuals. While many transgender people say they are more comfortable choosing where to go based on gender identity, the North Carolina law instead makes transgender individuals attend bathroom and locker room facilities based on the gender of their birth certificate. This can be a problem for many of those who identify themselves as transgender, since getting gender changed on a birth certificate can be a pain in one’s ass!
Point 3: For social conservatives, the new anti-LGBT laws tackle two major problems that they have had when national discussions of LGBT rights surfaced. One is not allowing businesses to practice “religious freedom” by denying LGBT individuals services due to their religion looking at homosexuality as a sin. So for example, they feel a Christian baker should be able to deny services to a gay couple over the baker’s religious beliefs.
Point 4: The other is transgender bathroom rights, in which again many social conservatives worry these laws could lead to sexual assault cases by having men stalk women in bathrooms if restroom use is dictated by gender identity (which FYI, never happens). Or as Mike Huckabee eloquently puts it:
And by “eloquently” we mean in the most asinine way possible.
Point 5: It’s important to note that many states like North Carolina legally permits LGBT discrimination based on either sexual orientation or gender identity. This trend is unlike racial or religious discrimination, where there are clearly defined state and federal laws against it.
Point 6: With the current anti-LGBT laws in place, that means if an LGBT individual is discriminated in their workplace or out in public, no legal ramification can be brought against that individual or institution.
Point 7: In the past, there have been similar laws in other states like the one North Carolina passed last month. Most notably was Arkansas, where they passed legislation in 2015 which they called the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act. While it sounds like bill that deals with interstate commerce, in reality the legislation required nondiscrimination laws to match state laws. The strategy here is even if local municipalities were to pass their own anti-discrimination laws protecting the LGBT community, they wouldn’t be able to because, under current legislation in these states, only the state legislature has that kind of power.
Point 8: After the measure passed in North Carolina, other states started to enact similar laws, with most recent being Tennessee. Their new bill, which is currently making its way through Tennessee’s state legislature, would ban transgender students from using locker rooms or bathrooms based on gender identity. Another example of this is Mississippi where they recently passed a similar anti-LGBT bill to North Carolina’s, in that businesses could deny services to gay couples simply based on the owner’s beliefs.
Point 9: Yet as you may have guessed, there has been considerable pushback on the anti-LBGT legislation by many groups and even in some state governments. For both Georgia and South Dakota, there was so much pushback from outside groups – especially those that would have hurt the state’s bottom lines by not doing business with them – that the anti-LGBT legislation didn’t make much sense, even if it would have appeased a large conglomerate of social conservatives in those states. Such pushback has even occurred in instances of high profile individuals, like Bruce Springsteen boycotting shows in North Carolina over the new anti-LGBT laws.
Point 10: It’s hard to say if these new anti-LGBT laws will stick as they undoubtedly start to get contested in the US courts. There are many groups, including such heavy hitters as the ACLU, that have filed federal lawsuits challenging the recent laws. While it will take time to see where the courts stand on the new anti-LGBT laws, one thing is for certain, the battle for equal rights for the LGBT community is far from over!
(Photo Credit: Pixabay.com, Google Images, ACLU.org)