To Boycott or Not to Boycott

boycott

With the recent passage of some pretty crappy laws in North Carolina and Mississippi, I’ve seen calls to boycott the states.

But is boycotting the right thing to do? Boycotts have mixed results in bringing about change. The reality is they don’t often substantially impact the target’s bottom line, but instead focus media attention and harm the target’s image, according to Northwestern University’s Brayden King. How much financial impact could individuals have boycotting a state? Even if you add in the various governments that have banned travel, how many of their state and municipal employees are really traveling to MS and NC on “non-essential” business anyway?

King notes that the study has one ironic conclusion: “Companies with poor reputations to begin with are less vulnerable to boycotts, because they have less to lose.”

Extend that to states, and I think North Carolina has more to lose than Mississippi, so a boycott may be more effective there. Indeed, we’ve seen NC getting more media attention, despite the belief of many (including myself) that MS passed a worse law.

Things start to heat up when companies and celebrities get involved. I’m not talking about releasing some empty statement about how they are “disappointed” with the law. I’m talking about PayPal canceling plans to open a new facility (which would have brought 400+ jobs) and Bruce Springsteen canceling a show in North Carolina. These are attention-grabbing headlines. Continue reading

Hate in the States

msprotest
Protest in Mississippi

As I type this, hundreds are gathered in Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi, protesting the state’s HB 1523, the preposterously-named “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” and urging the governor to veto it. The fallout from North Carolina’s HB 2 (pdf) is still coming down. What the heck is going on?

While the recent successes for LGBT rights in the U.S.–particularly the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling–have caused many to let their guards down and celebrate victory, others have been urging us to stay vigilant. In his book “It’s Not Over“, author, activist  and radio host Michelangelo Signorile predicted a backlash, and warned us against “victory blindness”. It turns out, he was right.

We have seen a rash of anti-LGBT laws sweep the country, mostly at the state level and often under the guise of “religious freedom”. Let’s take a look at a few of the worst of them. Continue reading

Prayer and Guns

Guns and religion in one blog post? Yes I can! Let’s do it…

Remember a few months ago, after yet another mass shooting–I literally can’t recall which, there are so many–when America, driven largely by social media, collectively decided they’d had enough “thoughts and prayers” after gun fatalities? Twitter exploded, and the New York Daily News printed the iconic cover seen below.

kingprayer4n-7-web

This was the result of pent up frustration, sadness and fury over the current state of violence, particularly mass shootings, in the United States. Time after time these things were happening, and time after time we saw our elected officials, who could and should be doing something about it, sending their “thoughts and prayers” out to the victims and their families. It pissed us off. It pissed me off!

There is always a subset of religious folks–largely Christian, let’s be honest–who relish playing the victim. This provided an excellent opportunity. The term “prayer shaming” was born. “Our religion is under attack!” they cried out. They seemed to think they were being criticized for praying! But they weren’t. By and large, we were criticizing those who had the power to take meaningful action but who either did nothing or actively impeded attempts to do something.  Continue reading

Nope, SSM is STILL not like abortion

Remember when BruiserBlog favorite Ryan T. Anderson comforted a distraught middled-aged woman by comparing same-sex marriage to abortion and I pointed out how stupid that was? Well I guess he must have missed it. Somewhat to my surprise, he’s still banging that drum. In a new post on right-wing web publication The Federalist, Ryan–after some characteristic whining, and pimping his new book–opines:

Will the defenders of marriage be treated like bigots? Will our society and our laws treat Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife as if they were the moral equivalent of racists?

Perhaps not. Think about the abortion debate. Ever since Roe v. Wade, our law has granted a right to abortion. Yet, for the most part, pro-life citizens are not treated as though they are “anti-woman” or “anti-health.” Those are just slurs from extremists. Even those who disagree with the pro-life cause respect it and recognize that it has a legitimate place in the debate over public policy.

First, I won’t paint with broad strokes here, but some in the anti-choice movement are in fact anti-woman. But I’m not going down that path.

Listen, Ryan, I already covered why these things are not the same or even similar. It’s not apples to oranges, it’s apples to brussels sprouts….they’re not even in the same family. Most on the anti-abortion side see an innocent victim, and the taking of a life. That simply doesn’t exist in marriage (both spouses are willing victims, and their lives are only ending in the jocularly hyperbolic sense).

Before I noticed Ryan tweeting this, I saw fellow blogger David Cary Hart’s post on it (he hits on more of the points in Ryan’s latest hogwash–which frankly was TL;DR for me–so it’s worth a read), and in echoing my own thoughts, he had this to say:

More to the point Obergefell is not Roe. Nothing could be more illustrative of this than the fact that the pro-life (really anti-choice) movement has secular support while opposition to same-sex marriage falls strictly along religious lines. Indeed, Anderson’s opposition is a product of his ultra-orthodox Catholicism. Of course Anderson’s opposition to Roe is for the same reasons.

However, believing that a fetus is a baby, anti-choice activists visualize a flesh and blood victim. There is simply no visceral comparison with regard to same-sex marriage.

But wait, what’s this? Has Ryan developed a bout of realism?

Will the same tolerance [as that shown to those who are “pro life”] be shown to those who believe the truth about marriage? Will the government respect their rights of conscience and religious liberty? It doesn’t look good. So far, the trend has been in the opposite direction. We must now work to reverse it.

He loves that meaningless phrase “the truth about marriage” so much that he titled his book (did you hear he has a new book out?) Truth Overruled. I wouldn’t say this is realism so much as alarmism, as he spends the rest of the piece trying to make people feel better about their opinions (“it’s totally different than race!”) and stoking fear that if they don’t do something, they will be treated like social lepers and the government will steal all of their religious freedoms. Of course, if you just buy his book, he has all kinds of information there on just what to do now.

Nice try, Ryan.

Not Alone

You are not alone. Just check out this video:

Not what you were expecting? Did you see the twist coming? I did because it was posted on Twitter. I was planning to just respond with some snarky comments (“Oh, you have gay friends? Well, OK then!”) but then THIS came to my attention:

Look, you can believe what you want about God. You may think God doesn’t consider a marriage to be between two dudes or two chicks. OK, that’s fine. But when you don’t believe that the state should recognize such marriages, that those relationships are and should be legally inferior, that’s where you are going to run into problems. And if people give you funny looks for saying that, then so be it. Gay people have endured much worse.

Marriage Over The Rainbow

White House lit in rainbow colors Well, I guess I should say something about what happened last Friday. I’m speaking–of course–of the Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court ruling that states could not prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

It’s hard to overstate how significant this was. Many people correctly point out that marriage equality is not the end-all of LGBT equality, that there is still much to be done. There is, it’s true. But to many of us, until recently this was unthinkable. Most of us grew up, came of age and started dating without any hope of being able to marry some day. I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime! And yet, thanks to 5 Justices, it’s here today.

The announcement came around 10am Friday, and I was totally useless at work for the rest of the day. I tried to concentrate on my tasks, but couldn’t. I followed the love and joy on Twitter, and I found myself tearing up at various times throughout the day. While I normally spend a fair amount of my Twitter time keeping an eye on the opponents of equality–and refuting their lies and distortions–I decided to take the weekend off, and to just be happy. So I hid those lists, and surrounded myself in love and happiness, and it was great!

Now it’s Monday, the weekend is over and it’s time to get back to the real world. There are still a few battles to be fought for marriage, and much more work to do for true, full equality. But those fights all look a bit more winnable in the multicolored afterglow of such a momentous victory. I’m invigorated to keep fighting the good fight, and not just on LGBT issues. Cops, guns, racism… as long as people are mistreated, oppressed or getting killed for no reason, there is more work to be done.

P.S. Seeing the White House lit up in rainbow colors, not to mention all the other shows of support from the executive branch of our government would have been hard to imagine a decade ago.

Sure, it’s just symbolic and to some it may seem small, but it’s not. It means the world.

Messing with Texas 

These hateful laws are coming so fast it’s almost impossible to keep track of them now. The latest I’ve seen is in Texas, where a state law maker has proposed a law similar to the the one enacted recently in Arkansas. It would roll back protections against LGBT people enacted in many of the state’s larger cities. Oh, and the author has a gay son, and that son is not happy. 

Beau Miller wrote on his Facebook wall on Thursday, “As many of you know by now, my dad has authored and submitted a bill in the Texas House of Representatives that, if signed into law, would prevent municipalities in Texas from maintaining sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws. While I love my dad very much, I am extremely disappointed by his actions and will do everything I can to prevent that bill, or any such legislation, from becoming law.”

The more inroads we make the harder they fight back. So much for conservative family values. Good luck, Beau.

Georgia Taking the Piss

Well damn, we can’t let our guards down for a minute. Not even long enough to take a leak, apparently. That Georgia “religious liberty” bill I mentioned recently was tabled? Not any more.

The Republican members of the committee considering the bill voted quickly on it while the Democratic member was on a bathroom break.

After several hours of deliberations at Monday’s committee meeting, however, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Fort asked McKoon if he could pause work for a moment to use the bathroom. McKoon obliged, but while the Democrat hurried to the lavatory, the rest of the committee — which consisted entirely of Republicans once Fort left the room — quickly pulled the “religious liberty” bill off the table and began voting. A staffer alerted other Democrats who rushed to the scene, but the committee had already passed the bill by the time lawmakers arrived.

The bill will move to the full Senate for a vote.

Do we need to start a fund to provide Democratic lawmakers in … certain states … with stadium pals?

Potpourri

potpourri bowlJust some quick updates and tidbits worth mentioning:

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson failed to veto the AR law stopping municipalities from expanding anti-discrimination protection beyond what is contained in state law. After the veto deadline passed, Walmart, the state’s largest employer, said they were against it. Too little, too late.

And I apparently wrote too soon in my previous post on Arkansas, as a “religious freedom” bill was also working its slimy way through the legislature there. This was, of course, another law meant to allow people to discriminate against LGBT folks and hide behind a shield of “religion”. But there is good news! In this case, Walmart weighed in against it before it was too late, and (as if by magic) the next day the Senate panel considering the legislation rejected it.

Late last week, a similar bill in Georgia was tabled by a Senate committee there, after it was opposed by a very unlikely critic: former GA Attorney General (GA AG) Michael Bowers, who once (successfully) argued in favor of Georgia’s anti-sodomy law! Bowers released a statement saying “It is not just bad public policy; it is ill-conceived, unnecessary, mean-spirited and deserving of a swift death in the General Assembly.”

Here is another piece on the so-called “social science” attacking gay parenting making the rounds among conservatives, which makes reference to the post I recently re-blogged. It’s worth a read on its own merits.

Notice something different? After using the same theme on this site for a couple years, I decided to try changing it up. It should work well on computers, tablet and smartphones. How do you like the new look?

And Now We Have Arkansas (What the Fuck?)

Following the footsteps of Kansas, Arizona and Mississippi, the state of Arkansas is trying to use legislation to keep anti-LGBT discrimination alive and well. But this approach is a bit different. Rather than using “religious freedom”, which has proven controversial–and gotten legislation dropped in Kansas and vetoed in Arizona–they are going for the innocuous sounding “standardizing” non-discrimination ordinances across the state.

According the AR branch of the ACLU, “SB 202 prohibits cities, counties, and towns from passing laws that create any “protected class” or “prohibit discrimination” that go beyond state law.”

This means cities can’t restrict discrimination any further than the state does. And guess what? The state doesn’t protect against anti-LGBT discrimination! The ACLU claims it’s “a direct fear response to Fayetteville’s passage of an ordinance protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

A different technique for the same old shit! They aren’t even being subtle about it.

State Senator Bart Hester has introduced an emergency bill, SB 202, which would strike down all nondiscrimination ordinances in the state permanently.

Hester believes that to allow LGBT people to have protections in the workplace and to have legal recourse against cases of discrimination goes too far, granting “special rights” to people who aren’t like him.

The 37-year-old GOP official told BuzzFeed that sure, LGBT people get discriminated against sometimes, but these days, “we are all singled out for discrimination.”

“I am singled out as a politician. I am singled out because I am married to one woman,” Hester said. “I want everyone in the LGBT community to have the same rights I do. I do not want them to have special rights that I do not have.”

(source)

Oh, he’s “singled out” as a politician (maybe because politicians do shit like this?) and for being “married to one woman”? Really?

There is a site dedicated to encouraging the governor to veto it. Let’s hope he does.

Not sure this is a bad law? Hate group leader and general asshole Tony Perkins loves it. What more do you need?