Opinion: Equal rights still denied for gays in South


Design by Tyler Tousley One of the logos commonly used for Safe Zones

Tyler Tousley | Opinions Editor
From Print [April 5, 2016] | Legacy

North Carolina recently passed a bill not only allowing, but justifying the discrimination of the LGBTQIA community. The bill prevents transgender people from using the correct bathroom. The bill also does not allow any North Carolina city to pass any laws that protect the queer community. This is absolutely disgusting.

Design by Tyler Tousley One of the logos commonly used for Safe Zones
Design by Tyler Tousley
One of the logos commonly used for Safe Zones

With the legalization of same-sex marriage in the summer of 2015, many people, sadly even some inside of the community, thought that the fight for equal rights was on its way to an end. There are plenty of easily ignored reasons that this is not the case, but a law that is meant to be as anti-gay as this one is not something we can ignore.

What’s worse? Similar bills have been and are being presented in multiple states throughout the country. Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, thankfully rejected the bill presented to him. Somewhat of a shock to some of his fellow Republicans. In both Mississippi and our own state of Missouri bills are being constructed and presented with similar outlines.

Mississippi’s proposed bill is referred to as the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act, using religion as a cover of hatred. That is, within itself, an entirely separate article with an argument that you have probably heard a thousand times before. Not only can businesses refuse service to anybody they please based on gender and sexuality, but employers can fire or not hire people based on the same. Members of the LGBTQIA community can also be denied housing on the grounds of this bill. Schools and employers would also be allowed to make and enforce gender specific dress codes. I honestly wish I was making some of this up. Missouri’s anti-gay law is not quite as extreme, but it is still a terrifying reality. Missouri’s bill is mainly meant to allow business to refuse to service to LGBTQIA people without repercussion.

I am in no way anti-religion. I have seen religion – more than Christianity alone – do wonderful things for a lot of people. I also, however, do not think religious people are being prosecuted for their religion. These people are being prosecuted for being bigots. There is a difference.
It absolutely blows my mind that in 2016 we are still passing laws that support discrimination against minorities who have been historically discriminated against. As I watch this political circus unfold, I will have my fingers crossed with the hope that the American people do not choose regression.