The far right’s war on the LGBT community took a variety of turns this week. Indiana’s Governor signed a law that confuses bigotry with religion. Arkansas’ legislature passed a similar law on Friday. A similar bill was tabled in Georgia. California’s Attorney-General is trying to void a ballot measure that seeks to kill all Gay people.
RFRA and “Super RFRA” laws are under consideration by state legislatures in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Texas West Virginia and Wyoming.
In an effort to stem broad condemnation of Indiana’s hate law, Mike Pence insisted critics just don’t understand that refusing services to gay people isn’t about hatred, it’s really just about religious freedom.
The bill was sailing through the legislative process. When the anti-discrimination provision passed, the bill’s sponsor called for tabling it and got 16 votes to support the motion.
If these laws really are about “strongly held religious beliefs” and not about discrimination, then the inclusion of a non-discrimination protection shouldn’t have been cause to table the law.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned about the proliferation of efforts to disguise bigotry and religious tyranny as freedom when she wrote her blistering dissent in the Hobby Lobby case.
Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private. Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate.
As disturbing as these laws are, a ballot measure that California’s Attorney-General, Kamala Harris, asked a court to void is even more disturbing.
The so called Sodomite Suppression Act seeks to kill Gays and Lesbians “by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
Like proponents of RFRA laws, Matt Mclaughlin hides behind religion to justify a mandate to kill gay people.
Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.
As Harris told the Sacremento Bee, ”In this case, we are talking about a proposal that literally is calling for violence. It’s calling for vigilantism. It’s calling for the public to be able to shoot in the head a member of the LGBT community.”
As they hid behind religion to wage war on women’s reproductive rights, zealots on the far right are doing the same thing to legitimize discrimination. Most of the focus has been on using RFRA laws to justify discrimination against Gay people. That in itself gives cause to rise up against these laws. However, the danger of these laws doesn’t stop with homophobia. Similar “reasoning” can be used to justify denying services to African-Americans, Jews, Muslims and women. Corporations and individuals can disguise all sorts of bigotry by calling it “their strongly held religious beliefs.”
There is nothing religious about hate or about mandating the mass killing of people belong to an identifiable group. To suggest otherwise is sophistry at its worst.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.