Equal rights for LGBT people: Call the roll | Arkansas Blog

Equal rights for LGBT people: Call the roll

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Very simple, straightforward legislation was introduced today. It would add four words to existing state civil rights law to add "sexual orientation, gender identity" to the list of protected categories, along with race, religion, national origin, gender and disabilities.

Simple, right? Noncontroversial, right? Yes and no.

But it's a good chance to call down the slippery pols. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, in trying to strike down such protections in a Fayetteville ordinance, says she does not believe in discrimination against gay people. She merely wants to honor the legislature's  law.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson? He says we are no North Carolina, though he did nothing to stop state laws that 1) provide a religious excuse to discriminate against LGBT people and 2) prevent local protections for LGBT people. We are worse than North Carolina and anybody who lives here knows it.

So let's call the roll. Does the legislative majority believe in legalized discrimination against people on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity or does it not?

We could cut short a lot of lawsuits and a lot of pain to good people by declaring forthrightly that it is simply wrong to refuse to hire, rent an apartment or serve a hamburger to someone because they are gay. I think the sponsors know that simple wrongs are the hallmark of this legislative session, however.

Nonetheless, let's put the bill in committee and call a vote. Let's hear the creative ways in which Republican legislators say we must continue legal discrimination against people on these grounds.

Here's the honor roll of sponsors of this legislation:

Reps. Leding, E. Armstrong, D. Ferguson, D. Whitaker, Blake, V. Flowers, Burch, Tucker

Sens. L. Chesterfield, U. Lindsey, Bond

That's 11 of 135. 43 more reps and 15 more senators and it's a done deal.

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