Let’s take a look at the latest news on discriminatory laws being passed by bigots in government:
In North Carolina — where the bigots got the ball rolling by enacting HB 2, which rolls back non-discrimination laws passed on the local level and prohibits passage of such local laws in the future AND which prohibits trans people from using appropriate public restrooms — they are watching more money go down the drain.
Gov. Pat McCrory backpedaled a little yesterday by issuing an executive order that seemingly mitigates a least a bit the discriminatory effects of HB 2. But equality advocates have claimed BS on the executive order, and businesses continue to turn their back on North Carolina and its hatefulness.
Despite McCrory’s executive order, Netflix and Viacom and several other media companies are saying it’s way too little, way too late.
Netflix, Viacom, Univision, CAA, SAG-AFTRA, CAA, the Art Directors Guild and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers have all signed on to an open letter issued by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), according to The Hollywood Reporter, intending to “demonstrate that the kind of discrimination being proposed — and in some cases enacted — is simply unacceptable.”
The letter goes on to note that more than 100 other bills “targeting LGBT people have been introduced in states and cities across the country,” and urges other businesses, organizations and individuals to “stand with us and reject any and all efforts to legalize discrimination. Send a strong and clear message to the rest of the world that America — and your communities — remain places where all people are respected.”
Mississippi is also feeling the heat after a discriminatory “religious freedom” bill was enacted there recently. For instance, the 37th Annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park — created as a promotional and networking event for Mississippians living in NYC — has been canceled, according to the Jackson Free Press. New York organizers made the decision to cancel saying that the Mississippi law is “not in accordance with New York values” and that one of Mississippi’s most famous sons — Tennessee Williams — could have been denied services under the law because he was gay.
(And Tennessee Williams isn’t the only famous Mississippian to be openly gay. As David Taffet noted, the state’s tourism guide features renowned journalist — and lesbian — Robin Roberts.)
At least one of Mississippi’s lawmakers has a clue. State Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, a Democrat from Gulfport and chair of the state’s legislative black caucus, warned today (Wednesday, April 13), that “It’s time to wise up and roll back discriminatory legislation before hundreds of Mississippians lose their livelihoods. … We can’t afford this. It’s clear that we’re already losing jobs and business because of this misguided bill, and it’s only going to get worse.”
Referring to singer Bryan Adams who has cancelled a concert in Mississippi because of HB 1523, Williams-Barnes continued, “Perhaps it’s prophetic that Bryan Adams has a well-known song called ‘Cuts Like a Knife.’ This narrow-minded legislation is going to cut like a knife through our communities, pushing us backwards to the days when Mississippi was a national symbol of intolerance and bigotry. We will experience cuts in employment and suffer other economic consequences due to the way our state is being perceived by the business world.
“In a few short days we’ve set the clock back 50 years and made Mississippi the national symbol of discrimination under law. … This is an ugly piece of legislation that is terribly unfair to our LGBT citizens, who are taxpayers and citizens of this state and deserve the same rights as everyone else. And once you make it illegal to discriminate against one group of citizens, where does it stop? It wasn’t so long ago that many people claimed ‘sincere’ religious or moral reasons for refusing service to people of color. Are we going back to those days, when people like me had to go to the back of the bus? Is refusing service in a bakery that makes wedding cakes all that different from refusing to serve someone on a lunch counter?”
Even family members of some of the Republicans who helped pass the hateful bill are speaking out against it. The Clarion Ledger reports that John Fillingane, gay brother of Mississippi Sen. Joey Fillingane, said he is “so saddened by the bill the legislators passed in Mississippi. I have cried several times today due to the fact that my brother Joey Fillingane agreed with the ignorant governor. … I wished that they could see that discrimination is the same thing as hate.”
And Kate Cochran, daughter of Sen. Thad Cochran, issued a statement calling the law “acutely embarrassing,” and adding,”There is simply no need to continue defending the religious rights of people who already enjoy full rights under the law.”
Then we move on to South Carolina, where just the possibility of legislation barring transgender people from using appropriate bathroom facilities has sent at least one company heading for the hills. Anthony Watson, openly gay CEO of British financial services company Uphold, is now headed to the West Coast to set up shop stateside instead of in South Carolina.
Watson wrote on Uphold’s website, “I have watched in shock and dismay as legislation has been abruptly proposed or enacted in several states across the union seeking to invalidate the basic protections and rights of LGBT U.S. citizens. As such, we feel compelled to take action to oppose the discrimination being proposed in South Carolina and protect our LGBT employees.”
Gov. Nikki Hayley has said she doesn’t believe the state needs such legislation. The bill was scheduled for its first hearing today (Wednesday, April 13.)