Perhaps I’m overly fussy about such things, but as a rule I try to avoid giving my money to those who would do me harm, or abridge my rights. To this end, I started trying to compile a list of states where I would either not be welcome, would suffer legal discrimination, or even have businesses and medical services be able to be protected whilst discriminating against me or my family.
At the time of writing we have 16 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, plus D.C. – where same-sex marriage is permitted. Illinois will begin issuing licenses in June 2014 making 17 states.
Clearly this progress toward equality is annoying those who, typically for supposed religious reasons, don’t want all Americans to have equality. Exporting anti-LGBT laws to Africa via certain conservative and evangelical organizations has given Rick Warren and Scott Lively some solace, I’m sure, but to really cheer themselves up, those who are becoming increasingly outraged by this outbreak of equality under the Constitution are consoling themselves by crafting state-level bills which provide a legal shield for those who would like to discriminate.
The “religious freedom” angle is the tool they want to use to provide a “discriminate at will” get-out for business or even medical services in the case of the Kansas Bill. Apparently some in Kansas and elsewhere are of the view that their right to express their religion includes the right to let people die. These bill all cunningly avoid mentioning LGBT people in the hope that the legislation will pass conditional muster.
Another way the fundamentalist right-wing have salved their disappointment at the gains for equality being made across the country is to have a go at trans people. I would contend that despite the efforts of bloggers such as Kat Haché, and great role models such as Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, in some ways we are a few decades behind gay and lesbians in terms of public understanding, and hence present an easier target, The talented blogger and journalist Cristan Williams has debunked a number of completely fabricated stories of trans girls “harassing” other girls in high schools. Except it never happened. This didn’t stop Fox News from keeping the story on its website long after they must have known it was false. The “trans bathroom threat” meme keeps running and running, with the anti-trans zealots portraying measures such as California’s protections for trans students as some sort of license for men and boys to invade the women’s and girls’ restrooms and assault them, simply by “putting on a dress”. The slightest thought shows that someone who is undeterred by all the existing laws against assaulting people in restrooms is not waiting around for trans protections to be put into place so that they can enact their criminal urges. In addition, as Parker Marie Molloy notes, such measures have been in place at some schools for ten years without incident.
So what happened with my attempt to summarize those states which value all of their citizens, who don’t provide special “rights to discriminate” to those claiming a religious basis for doing so? Unfortunately, it really isn’t clear-cut. Some states in the “Good(ish)” list also appear in the “Ugly(ish)” list, so I will leave it to you to decide, based perhaps, on this data and by doing your own research.
States with ENDA protection for sexual orientation AND gender identity
States with no protections for people based on sexual orientation or gender identity
States where the GOP tried or are trying to introduce pro-discrimination bills
|Discrimination Bill States||Abbrev.|
So it is a bit of a mixed bag insofar as some of the states which have ENDA have also had legislators attempt to introduce pro-discrimination bills. Sometimes there are no clear answers. Here are the states where I will most likely spend money:
- Rhode Island
- New Mexico
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
and maybe the six states have laws that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation but NOT gender identity, though I hope they will soon add gender identity protection too:
- New Hampshire
- New York
Hope you find this useful.