The lowdown on the current anti-LGBT laws
We all know how things are heating up in a number of states like North Carolina and Mississippi where they’ve enacted a number of anti-LGBT laws.
Moreover, others like Tennessee have followed with their own version that would discriminate against the LGBT community.
The sad thing about this is that the Human Rights Campaign had already warned that this was coming up for this year.
Here’s a lowdown on the laws and bills anti-LGBT proponents are using against the LGBT community.
Anti-LGBT laws #1: The bathroom law
At the current center of the storm is North Carolina’s HB 2, or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.
This is known as the ‘bathroom bill’ as it requires transgender people– and everyone else– to use public restrooms according to their biological sex on their birth certificates.
The North Carolina legislature had passed this law in response to a transgender-friendly bathroom ordinance laid down by the city of Charlotte. What’s more, HB 2 also bars local governments from creating similar ordinances like Charlotte’s.
On another front, some people have pointed out that thanks to the language used in HB 2, North Carolina workers will now be unable to sue under a state discrimination law.
HB 2 has this line in the state’s employment discrimination law that says: “(No) person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein.”
“If you were fired because of your race, fired because of your gender, fired because of your religion, you no longer have a basic remedy,” said Allan Freyer, head of the Workers’ Rights Project at the North Carolina Justice Center in Raleigh.
Anti-LGBT laws #2: The religious freedom law
Mississpi’s HB 1523 was passed supposedly to protect the religious freedom of its citizens, i.e. “protecting freedom of conscience from government discrimination act.”
Because HB 1523 specifically wants to protect the “religious beliefs or moral convictions,” it singles out LGBT people for “disfavored legal status.”
This is because the law centers on ideas that “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman” and that “male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
More importantly, HB 1523 specifically identifies same-sex couple and trans people as the “solitary class” disabled by the law.
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had earlier condemned the approval of HB 1523 by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, saying, “It’s embarrassing, shameful, and truly perplexing that the Republicans still don’t get it.”
“LGBT Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, just as everyone else. No exceptions. No allowances for discrimination. That we’re even still debating this in 2016 boggles the mind,” Schultz said.
Anti-LGBT laws #3: Principles instead of beliefs
Lastly, Tennessee legislature has just passed a bill that would allow professional counselors to use personally held principles as reasons to refuse clients. All it needs now is the approval of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
The bill would counter an industry code of ethics update that says counselors shouldn’t send clients somewhere else due to personal beliefs. Moreover, the American Counseling Association (ACA) said Tennessee would become the only state with this type of law.
The ACA further said the measure would violate the group’s code of ethics. According to their code, mental health professionals cannot refuse treatment based on “personally held values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.”
Though the bill uses the word ‘principles’ instead of ‘beliefs’ after it underwent revision, Democrat Sen. Jeff Yarbro said, “There’s no litigation on what those ‘principles’ are.”
These three anti-LGBT laws are just the tip of the iceberg with others expected to appear soon from mostly southern states.