Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Arkansas poised to give lgbts more control of 'religious freedom' narrative

As Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the state deals with the repercussions of that awful anti-gay "religious freedom" bill, Arkansas is poised to pass a similar one. And that's a good thing:

From Think Progress:

Arkansas is a penstroke away from having a “license to discriminate” law nearly identical to Indiana’s. HB 1228, the Arkansas “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA), already passed both the House and the Senate, though it is awaiting a final consensus vote in the House before advancing to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) desk for his signature. Unlike the scramble now happening in Indiana, lawmakers do not plan to include any clarification or carve-outs for nondiscrimination protections and activists are already pressuring Hutchinson to veto.

The Arkansas RFRA shares all of the characteristics of the Indiana bill that distinguishes both from other laws across the country with the same name. While other RFRAs only apply to complaints against the government, a person could cite the Arkansas RFRA as a defense against another citizen, claiming a burden on their religious belief. And like in the Indiana law, those religious beliefs are similarly broad, allowing for religious beliefs a person might hold “whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious beliefs.”

Whereas Indiana’s corporate backlash didn’t happen until after the bill became law, several companies have already spoken out in Arkansas. Walmart, which has its headquarters in the state and is its biggest employer (after the government), spoke out against the bill last month, as did the Arkansas Municipal League.

  . . . This is in addition to the nationwide opposition to such bills issued by companies like Apple and Yelp in the wake of Indiana’s law passing. Apple previously spoke out about Arkansas’ bill specifically, noting, “Our employees in Little Rock have a right to equal treatment under the law, as do their coworkers in Cupertino and around the world. We join the many voices across Arkansas in opposing H.B. 1228 and we urge the State’s legislators to vote against the bill.” Tuesday afternoon, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce came out against the bill in a statement posted on Facebook.

So why is this a good thing? In the case of Indiana, America saw the true face of the anti-gay industry.  America saw hypocrites talk about morality and faith while, at the same time, deliberately lie and distort.

Now having been exposed, one would think members of anti-gay groups and their allies would regroup, but they can't. They are unable to because of their internal beliefs of entitlement and infallibility. They are incapable of admitting that they are wrong and acting accordingly. No matter how much these folks publicly shed their pretenses of morality and expose themselves as the liars they are, they will continue to go full-speed ahead.

Or in this case, they will continue to go straight down until they hit bottom. 

People have been made aware of what these so-called "religious freedom" bills are actually for. They have objected in mass number and loud voices. Hopefully, the numbers will grow and the voices will become louder in opposition to these "religious freedom" bills no matter what state they may pop up.  That being said, it is nice to note that any discussions or debates on these bills can only help the lgbt community.

America saw the face of the anti-gay industry that those of us in the lgbt see every day. And just like us, they didn't like what they saw.

Mike 'Pence press conference nothing but glorified self-pity' & other Tuesday midday news briefs

Indiana Governor Mike Pence Holds News Conference On Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Law - What a sad press conference. You know it was bad when people on twitter was talking about Pence's strange breathing. But did it solve anything? No. Pence seems to be stubborn. No matter. Keep up the pressure, folks.

The True Intent Of Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill, According To The People That Helped Write It - That would be THESE folks in the tweet below. The folks Pence wouldn't acknowledge when asked about them (see next news brief). By the way, please keep tweeting this out. The vilification of a deceptively anti-gay governor is something we can take all part in:
‘Own what you are’: CNN host exposes Indiana law backer as gay conversion therapy promoter - Chris Cuomo calls out Indiana anti-gay activist. 

 These Events Were Canceled Because Of Indiana's New Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Law - The boycott against Indiana is going exceedingly well. 

 10 Things You Can Do For Transgender Day Of Visibility - In the middle of this ado, let's not forget what today is.

  2015 Trans 100 Honors Positive Work By Transgender And Gender Non-Conforming People Nationwide - 100 wonderful people you should know about.

Anti-gay groups, conservatives playing useless game of catch-up in Indiana controversy

Gov. Mike Pence and Indiana legislators aren't the only ones who was taken by surprise by the backlash to that awful anti-gay 'religious freedom' bill the state recently made into law.

Anti-gay groups and conservatives find themselves playing defense in a big hole in which they continue to dig. That's not to say that they don't get an 'A' for effort.

Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation took part in a debate on the MSNBC show 'All In' with former RNC head Michael Steele and lgbt activist Dan Savage. It didn't go well for him. Since then, he has been on twitter pushing out right-wing articles supporting Indiana's bill and attacking those who have publicly spoken against it.

Meanwhile, some folks on Fox News have been doing their level best to either minimize or degrade the backlash. Megyn Kelly gave an absolutely abysmal defense of the law. The supreme irony is that her bad journalism was already undercut earlier in the day by her Fox colleague Brett Baier on his show.

Baier actually debunked Kelly's arguments hours before she went on. One has to wonder do these people on Fox News know the meaning of the word "coordination."

And let's not omit the Family Research Council and its president Tony Perkins. Besides being given free reign (i,e, not having to debate an opposing side) on Kelly's show,  Perkins and FRC have been busy sending out muted, whiny statements:

Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed into law a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that protects people who live their daily lives according to their faith against government discrimination. This law reflects polling that shows 81% of Americans support the freedom to live out one's beliefs. The Indiana law is like the federal RFRA that was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and RFRAs in 19 other states. Now, a leftist-driven movement has spread misinformation about the law, threatened boycotts and fomented false rhetoric in the media and online. Even in our day, the price of freedom is steep, and Governor Pence is standing strong for freedom despite the cost. Efforts are about to pressure Governor Pence to support changing or amending the law to weaken it. All Americans who live according to their religious beliefs should be free from fear of government punishment. I stand with Governor Pence in his support of religious freedom as stated in the Indiana RFRA, and urge him to oppose all efforts to change the law. 

Of course Perkins omits the fact the the polling in question was done in part by his own organization.

Meanwhile, nothing has abated the backlash against that Indiana law.  Statewide and nationwide, major businesses and individuals are either voicing their concern or intense disagreement.  This includes Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO of Apple as one of many. The state of Connecticut and cities such as San Fransisco and Seattle are banning state-funded travel to Indiana.

Columns and editorials in the Indy Star, The New York Times and even ESPN Online are criticizing Indiana

And let's not forget twitter. The tweet at the top of this post, created by twitter user @SeaMonkey237 is just one of many which are going super viral (Editor's note - feel free to retweet. Let's see if we can hit over 1,000.)

The point here is clear. Indiana, anti-gay organizations, and conservatives never had a shot. And no matter how much they play catch-up, they are still going to be behind.