Thursday, September 19, 2013

Republicans want to push nationwide discrimination bill against same-sex couples

Earlier this week, the Huffington Post published a piece of mine expressing the desire for the lgbt community and our leadership to confront anti-gay propaganda head on.

I got a lot of positive responses. But I also got some negative responses. Therefore, for all of you out there - and you know who you are - who attacked me personally, acted blase and apathetic, whined about being called the "correct" acronym, or declare verbal full-scale war on religion in general, or talked about how folks are calling out the religious right in the comments section of articles, this news from Think Progress is a reminder that all of your explanations and complaints don't mean diddly:

A group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), has proposed a new bill that would provide a nationwide “license to discriminate” against married same-sex couples. Though Labrador claims the bill protects “religious liberty,” it is nothing less than a blanket invitation to deny benefits to same-sex couples that they are entitled to under law.

According to the draft of the bill (HR 3133), there would be no consequences for any organization or individual that chooses not to recognize a same-sex marriage:
The Federal Government shall not take an adverse action against a person, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
In other words, the bill would create special religious protections only for people who oppose same-sex marriage or premarital sex. Under the guise of “religious freedom,” this bill specifically endorses one particular set of religious beliefs without concern for any others, a pretty clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The consequences of this legislation would be immense, such that a few individuals could short-circuit the rights of gay and lesbian couples across the country. Given its prudish inclusion of opposition to premarital sex, these consequences could likely apply to many straight couples as well. Here are a few possible examples of the potential for abuse:
  • Businesses could refuse to provide leave for an employee to take care of a sick same-sex spouse.
  • Federal workers processing tax returns, visa applications, or Social Security filings could refuse to do their job if it meant providing benefits to a same-sex couple.
  • Federally funded programs like homeless shelters and substance abuse programs could turn away LGBT people.
  • A church-run hospital could refuse to provide visitation privileges to a married same-sex couple without fear of endangering their tax-exempt status.
The religious right isn't mentioned in this article, but let's not act stupid. We all know who is behind this bill and is most likely nudging the Republicans to push it

Pull your heads out of your butts and get serious. All of the street protests and glitterbombings don't mean jack to organizations powerful enough to dictate what bills they want Congressional leaders to pass.

The religious right's greatest asset is their credibility. It's credibility which they don't deserve because of their many distortions and lies pushed against the lgbt community.

When are we going to exploit these distortions and lies? When are we going to demand that OUR media address these issues? When are we going to demand that mainstream news programs have discussions about these things? When are we going to have discussions about these things instead of being bogged down with side issues?

Many of us in the lgbt community are intelligent. But when are we going to show that we have sense?

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