On state licensing of bigotry

“Foes of equality see the writing on the wall,” writes Chad Griffen, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in a letter to supporters today:imgres

“State by state, they are losing the fight for marriage equality. So they are resorting to an insidious new tactic to undermine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights:

“Using religion as a weapon to legalize discrimination against LGBT people. Last month HRC supporters helped shut down abominable “License to Discriminate” bills in Arizona and, for now, Kansas and South Dakota. Unbelievably, the bills – thinly veiled ploys to allow discrimination against LGBT people – could have made it legal to discriminate against individuals on the grounds of “religious freedom.” If these bills had gone through as intended, private businesses in these states could have legally refused an LGBT person anything from a seat at a restaurant, to photography services for their wedding, to accounting and tax counsel – all because of who they are or who they love.Tens of thousands of HRC supporters, fair-minded business leaders and people of faith said “NO!” to these sickening anti-equality ploys because treating people differently based on who they are is discrimination. Lawmakers listened, and many of these hateful bills have stopped in their tracks – at least for now.

“But this new and dangerous form of attack on LGBT equality is just the beginning. We have concerns that efforts like these could be revived in any of the 33 states that do not protect LGBT people at the state level. Even in states like Maine, where there are state-level protections for LGBT people, we recently had to fight back efforts to carve out an exception that would have deliberately exposed LGBT people to legalized discrimination. We must be prepared to move swiftly to shut down these efforts to divide and discriminate wherever they appear. Our immediate goal is to raise $150,000 by March 31st to fight back against these efforts and continue to press forward for non-discrimination initiatives in the next 90 days.

“Let me assure you, wherever one of these heinous “License to Discriminate” bills gets introduced, HRC will be there fighting with the full force of our conviction for equality. But in turn I am counting on the full force of HRC supporters to stand with us to help squash these hateful attempts to legalize discrimination and to continue to champion LGBT equality in the months ahead. Take action now. And thank you for standing on the right side of history by standing with HRC.


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