To be perfectly clear at the outset, by referring to religious freedom laws that allow discrimination against LGBT citizens as new "Jim Crow" legislation, there's no intention to equate the gay experience in the U.S. with the African-American experience. But continuing where we left off yesterday, there's clearly a parallel between Jim Crow tactics and some of the modern workarounds used by opponents of equality. So, the Jim Crow frame is more about a similarity in tactics, and less about the degree of oppression against each group.
And the "anti-gay Jim Crow" beat marches on, this time in Arkansas where another bill threatens to block anti-discrimination laws. Yesterday, we discussed the existence of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs), laws that legalize discrimination and intolerance based on the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment. The Arkansas bill is different, but has the same impact. Senate Bill 202 (SB202) would make it illegal to pass anti-discrimination laws at the local or county levels, and it would strike down any existing laws such as one that was recently passed in Eureka Springs. That'd include any laws against "employment, housing, public accommodations" or any other local anti-discrimination laws.
The news only gets worse from there. Not only did SB202 pass the state legislature with supermajority support, but Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Friday that he's allowing the bill to become a law without his signature -- a step that will occur automatically on Wednesday. Hutchinson's statement read in part:
I recognize the desire to prevent burdensome regulations on businesses across the state. However, I am concerned about the loss of local control. For that reason, I am allowing the bill to become law without my signature.
Way to take a brave stand there, governor... CONTINUE READING