At a time when anti-discrimination laws are being passed all across the country, some state representatives are insisting on going against the grain and are actually introducing anti-anti-discrimination laws. If you’re confused, don’t worry. We were, too.
Essentially, some states have banned anti-discrimination practices for a variety of excuses—yet the intention is still painfully clear. North Dakota, Tennessee, and Arizona have all actively oppressed the rights of LGBT people in their states.
North Dakota’s Senate, for example, recently barred the passage of an anti-discrimination bill that would have banned discrimination based on gender orientation or age. Opponents to the bill argued that it would be unfair to religious enterprises and businesses (despite the fact that it had specific exemptions for those groups) and said that its passage could facilitate the legalization of pedophilia and same-sex marriage.
Tennessee always seems to be in the farthest corner from LGBT rights, what with the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and all. The state’s House of Representatives has passed two laws recently that make discrimination 100% okay. One of the laws prohibits public universities from requiring student groups to follow nondiscrimination policies, which means that LGBT students could be banned from groups simply for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The state also passed a law in 2011 which banned local LGBT non-discrimination laws, meaning that individual towns and cities could not choose to pass their own laws to give LGBT people equal rights. The law was a huge blow to the state’s more liberal cities and towns, effectively overturning any past non-discrimination policies that had been in place.
Lastly, in Arizona, a law was passed in February that banned discrimination of LGBT people in housing, public accommodations, employment, and city contracts. While this was a huge milestone for the state, not everyone agreed. John Kavanagh was one of those people, and shortly after the ordinance passed, he introduced a new bill that would require people to use only the restrooms designated for the gender they were born as. It also specified that people could be asked to provide a birth certificate to verify that gender.
Not surprisingly, it has been dubbed the “Show Your Papers to Pee Bill” by the media. Kavanagh recognized that it would impact transgender Arizonans but stood by it nonetheless, calling it “an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety.”
“The city of Phoenix has crafted a bill that allows people to define their sex by what they think in their head… It also raises the specter of people who want to go into those opposite sex facilities not because they’re transgender, but because they’re weird,” he said.
One day, very soon, these representatives will wake up to find that they are part of a dying breed. And we’ll look back and laugh at their ignorance.