The Fight's Not Over: Anti-LGBT Bills Are Sweeping Through America
On June 27, 2015, the fight for gay marriage in the United States was effectively declared to be over when the Supreme Court decided that same-sex couples could legally get married in all fifty states. It was a triumphant summer that capped off more than a decade of activism and bitter court cases. But, as many in the LGBT community rushed to the alters and wedding bells rang, homophobic Republicans hell-bent on being miserable assholes rushed to their offices to draft bills to Make America Straight Again. Sorry, Great Again.
We got a taste of what’s been happening at the state level when Jesus Warrior Kim Davis was arrested for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses in Kentucky. She may have been defeated by the weight of Satan (or compassion for the LGBT community), but her fight is just a drop in the pond of bigotry that’s spread across the country. Bills have appeared in a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures this year that are looking to set back the clock on progress. Here are some of the most egregious examples of bigotry passing through statehouses in 2016. They’re pretty bad–and it’s only February.
Kentucky’s New Law Is Crazier Than Kim Davis
When you’re attempting to pass an anti-gay bill that is so extreme that even Kim Davis doesn’t support it, that’s probably a sign to step back and think about how much hatred you’re harboring. Over in Kentucky, a new law is looking to create separate-but-equal marriage licenses–because separate but equal has always worked out so well. Straight couples can call themselves bride and groom, while same-sex couples have to use the terms first party or second party, which sounds more like our Saturday night than a legal document for married couples.
Let’s all take a hot second to remember that the Supreme Court literally legalized gay marriage last year. The idea of creating two separate forms is so ridiculous that even Kim Davis has spoken out against it, stating that, “one form is easier to handle, less expensive and puts everyone on equal footing.” You know what else is easier, less expensive, and puts everyone on equal footing? Letting same-sex couples fucking marry each other like you’re legally supposed to.
Georgia Is Letting Businesses Party Like It’s 1955
On Friday, Georgia pulled a “surprise, bitch” and did a Time Warp back to the 1950s with a truly appalling religious freedoms bill. The law hasn’t been finalized yet, but if passed, it would allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples under the guise of religion. They aren’t the only group, either. The language of the bill would allow for business to deny service to single mothers, unmarried couples, Muslims, and any other group they’re bigoted against. The bill is so drastic and harsh that it’s prompted a major backlash from LGBT-friendly companies, with at least one, 373K, already promising to relocate their offices to another state if it passes.
We’ve already gone through this with Japanese Americans, African Americans, Muslims, Hispanics, Irish Americans, and every other minority group in the United States. At this point, it’s like a hazing process for minorities before they’re treated like actual human beings in this country.
South Dakota Declares War on Transgender Youth
If you thought same-sex marriage and business discrimination was bad, you may want to sit down for this one. South Dakota’s GOP legislature has gone full throttle on the hate and set their sites on transgender youth with not one, not two, but three separate discriminatory bills. The state has already passed a bill prohibiting high school students from playing on sports teams consistent with self-identified gender, but that’s not all. They also have two bills in the works that would require schools to recognize a trans person’s birth gender rather than their gender identity, while another would forbid trans students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. That last bill would cost the state $195 million in annual education funding, but that’s a small price to pay to uphold bigotry, right?
This triple-threat of hate is just one small piece of a larger national wave of anti-trans legislation that has produced over 44 bills targeting the transgender community. The fight against transgender people and, especially, trans youth, is vile and dangerous to their well-being. This is a group of people who face daily harassment in school—about 40 percent of trans students nationwide have reported being being bullied, excluded, or harassed by their peers. On top of that, 41 percent of transgender people across all ages have attempt suicide in their lifetime. These laws targeting trans people, same-sex couples, and the LGBT community aren’t just hateful—they are dangerous. No matter what your gender identity or sexual preference is, you should be loved and appreciated for who you are.
Stay tuned to Milk for more LGBT news.
Original imagery via Kathryn Chadason. Addition imagery via Timothy D. Easley, Matt Connolly, and Joe Ahlquist.