Thursday, December 4, 2014

Two Wins for Intolerance

Champions of discrimination, bigotry and intolerance scored have scored a pair of victories in the state Legislature, both compliments of lame duck House Speaker Jase Bolger.
Bolger signals "stop" to LGBT
civil rights protections
It begins with Bolger proclaiming the last rights to legislation extending the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to the LGBT community. Bolger and his allies insisted on a bill which only covered gays/lesbians, and did not provide civil rights protection for transgender citizens of Pure Michigan. That, they knew, would kill Democratic support for the bill - a poison pill that could preserve a status quo where you can be fired or refused service at a public accommodation (like a lunch counter) for not being straight. Now that their tactic has worked, they blame defeat of the bill on Democrats with Bolger mouthpiece Ari Adler telling reporters "the extremists on the left were successful in preventing civil rights protections for gays and lesbians in Michigan".
Killing the bill protects bigotry against any and all non-straights. Substitute "negro" for "gay" and you have exactly the situation that existed in the Deep South before the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Are "straights-only" drinking fountains next?

Just to reinforce Michigan's legal double-standard of civil rights, the Bolger bill giving legal status to bigotry-due-to-religious-beliefs bill was approved in committee on a straight partyline vote (sorry for the play on words...) and then immediately jammed through the full House, again on a partyline vote.
“This legislation opens up an unknown future for those who would fall victim to discrimination if Republicans can make it law,” said Rep. Ellen Cogen-Lipton (D-Huntington Woods), a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
“Where does the line end? So many people have different yet sincere religious beliefs, there’s a possibility that anyone can use this defense simply to discriminate.”
Rep.Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, offered several amendments to the bill, including ones stating that RFRA couldn’t be used as an excuse to discriminate and that RFRA couldn’t be used to justify child abuse. All were voted down along party lines. Other Democratic amendments also failed.
“This bill puts state government into the position of determining which religious views are sufficiently sincere to qualify,” Irwin said. “This violates the principle of separation of church and state. The amendments offered by myself and my Democratic colleagues in committee tried to offer some protection for Michiganders, but Republicans are hell-bent on destroying any small comfort left in our state.”
When he announced the bill just last month, Bolger used the example of a bakery owner who didn't want to provide the wedding cake for a gay marriage (should marriage equality ever become legal in Michigan) as someone who should be protected. Bolger believes that the baker has the right to shout out "don't let them eat cake!" if they're queer.
Bolger's bill allows all sorts of discrimination if the bigot in question can cite "sincerely held religious beliefs." The Curmudgeon can't wait until this law is used by a non-Christian in a way that thoroughly pisses off Bolger and his band of bible-thumpers. How about a McDonalds burger-slinger who refuses to serve bacon-cheeseburgers because (s)he's 1) Muslim, or 2) Jewish and thus claims immunity from firing on religious grounds?
How about someone attacks a banker because Jesus physically threw the money lenders out of the temple (Mark 11:15-1, 11:27-33; Matthew 21:12-17, 21:23-27; Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-16).
You can be sure the Jase Bolger Discrimination-Is-OK Act of 2014 will be cited by healthcare workers in a myriad of creative ways to justify such things as refusing treatment for AIDS victims, or refusing to provide care to women for anything related to a legal abortion. Someday, somewhere a woman will die because she was denied medical treatment due to "sincerely held religious beliefs."

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