Bigotry'south New Guise: The Danger of 'Religious Exemption' Bills

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 10:53 PM

The recent and successful bill efforts in Missouri, Mississippi, GA and NC exemplify the furtive efforts led by Republicans to restrict the LGBTQ community'south rights and dignity.

Bigotry'south New Guise: The Danger of 'Religious Exemption' Bills

Across our nation, a pernicious fight is underway: numerous state legislatures are attempting to or have already passed discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ legislation. The recent and successful bill efforts in Missouri, Mississippi, GA and NC exemplify the furtive efforts led by Republicans to restrict the LGBTQ community'south rights and dignity.

The claimed "necessity" of these bills is religious liberty. By invoking this predictably hackneyed argument, Republicans have cloaked bigotry in the form of liberty; much in the same way that religion was used as an argument for racial segregation.

Separate but equal has the same meaning it did in one thousand nine hundred sixty-fourth.

What the sponsors of these bills won't tell you is that, in Missouri, Mississippi, Georgia, and N Carolina, a member of the LGBTQ community can be fired from their work or evicted from their apt for number other reason than their identity. This isn't isolated to these four states or even a handful: thirty-one states are without full anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ citizens.

While things have changed rapidly in our country, LGBT rights are still below assault, and with this trend, our nation falls further asunder.

Homosexual bashings are still commonplace: over 100.000 LGBQ detest crimes have been reported to the FBI since 1991.

Transgender murder is at a historic high and, worse, largely unnoticed by the general public.

Most disheartening is the fact that LGBT youth have higher rates of suicide attempts than do their heterosexual and cis-gendered counterparts. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center, through a synthesis of studies, estimates that thirty to forty percent of all LGBT youth attempt suicide at minimum once, depending on other factors like race.

Taken together, these statistics indicate that each sling of a slur, each instance of state-sanctioned hostility, immeasurably harms our young people.

Our governments--no matter at what level--are meant to inspire and protect, not keep down or reject.

Create number mistake: by enshrining bigotry into law, states are sending a clear signal to the LBGTQ community that we're less-than-human. When you can deny someone services, or housing, or the consequential skill to simply be who they are, you destroy the most inherent aspect of their humanity.

That's the primary reason that large businesses, other state governments, and even the federal government are threatening to withhold investment, travel, and funding from the states that have passed these antiquated measures. In a move against business--the normal favorite in Republican legislation--many of the Republicans supporting the bills are digging in their heels, refusing to accept the existence and humanity of their fellow citizens.

Those in the LGBTQ community aren't asking for special treatment (love those pushing for these bills); we're asking for equal protection below the law.

These lawmakers necessity to realize that legislating against freedom for some is legislating against freedom for our nation as a whole.

These lawmakers, masquerading as freedom protectors, necessity to realize the plight of being an "other."

These lawmakers, and complicit constituents, should recognize the impact their actions can have on groups of people who are exhausted from the virtue of having to justify their existence; worse still, maybe some entirely realize the damage they're committing and are content with their crime.

Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) should rise up with Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) in vetoing this bill instead of sinking into the mud with Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS) and Gov. Pat McCroy (R-NC), who have already signed their states' bills into law.

Gov. Nixon: as a homosexual Missourian, I necessity you to have the grit and gumption to stand up to such a lousy excuse for lawmaking. Doing so will send a clear message that our state reject bigotry and embrace love; that we'll march forward, not retreat backwards; and, finally, that religion and rights can co-exist harmoniously.

Alex is a global affairs consultant & communications professional in NY City. He's held policy-focused positions at the Clinton Global Initiative and the White House and holds a B. A. in Political Science from WA Univ in St. Louis.

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