Tags: State | GOP | Roll Back | LGBT | Rights

State Republicans Aim to Roll Back LGBT Rights

Image: State Republicans Aim to Roll Back LGBT Rights

(AP)

By    |   Friday, 10 Feb 2017 10:14 AM

More than 70 bills are in the works in state legislatures to turn back LGBT rights, The Hill reports.

Almost two dozen states have introduced bills that would block transgender people from using the restroom of their choice or would allow businesses to deny services on religious grounds, The Hill reported.

While President Barack Obama's administration was seen as friendly toward the LGBT community, the November 2016 election results were a "repudiation" of that stance, according to Quena Gonzalez, state and local affairs director at the Family Research Council.

Some states are working on measures like North Carolina's HB 2 law that barred cities from setting up laws against discrimination that were stronger than state laws. Texas' Senate Bill 6 and similar bills in Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and Washington would not allow cities or counties to insist that private organizations provide bathroom choice.

Movement on some of the bills has slowed down after the pushback against North Carolina's bill, which resulted in sports teams and events canceling events in the state.

Texas could lose $8.5 billion in economic activity if its version of the "bathroom bill" passes, according to the Texas Association of Business.

Virginia's version of the bill died earlier in February, and South Dakota's governor said he would veto if such a bill reached his desk.

Religious freedom bills, or First Amendment Defense Acts, that would let businesses refuse service to LGBT people if the businesses have a religious basis for their refusal. Alabama, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, and Illinois have religious freedom bills in the works.

"People should have a right of conscience, whether they agree with or don't the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage," Gonzalez said.

In addition to the bathroom bill, a religious freedom bill has also been introduced in Texas, according to the Texas Observer. American Civil Liberties Union counsel Eunice Hyon Min Rho expressed alarm at the bill.

"This is incredibly broadly written… there are no limitations to this bill," said Rho.

A religious freedom bill that passed in Mississippi in 2016 was struck down by a judge days before it was set to take effect, which has offered some optimism for LGBT groups, The Hill reports.

"Being anti-LGBT is not a way to win a state election," Catherine Oakley, legislative counsel of the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign, told The Hill, noting the defeat of North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who championed the state's bathroom choice bill.

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More than 70 bills are in the works in state legislatures to turn back LGBT rights, The Hill reports.
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2017-14-10
Friday, 10 Feb 2017 10:14 AM
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