Oh, Indiana! You have so many virtues….and so many legislators with questionable reasoning abilities. The legislative session that just began promises to be a bonanza for those who enjoy black comedy and unintentional irony.
For those of us who want adult government, not so much.
A major focus of the upcoming session will be the effort to add four words and a comma to Indiana’s existing civil rights law. In the aftermath of last year’s RFRA debacle, business and civic organizations have partnered with LGBT organizations and faith communities to lobby for the addition of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the existing list of things (race, religion, gender, etc.)that Hoosiers can’t use as reasons to discriminate against other people.
All of these characteristics should be totally irrelevant to an individual’s right to rent an apartment, enroll in an educational institution or buy goods and services in the marketplace.
Four words and a comma. It’s not rocket science.
Lawmakers who really do want to discriminate but want to pretend otherwise have come up with all manner of convoluted bills to allow disparate treatment to continue. Others have simply abandoned the pretense, offering proposals that, if passed, would tell the world that Hoosier Hospitality is a highly selective concept.
And the world has noticed. This is from Talking Points Memo:
An Indiana rep recently proposed a bill that would hit transgender individuals with a Class A misdemeanor if they used a public restroom that doesn’t conform to their gender at birth.
I can see the signs now: Before using this potty, please deposit your DNA sample with the attendant…..
The whole potty fixation is a mystery to me. I was just in New York—I know, a den of iniquity—and most of the public restrooms I used were “one at a time” facilities available to either gender. (If you’re really worried about who uses which toilet, I have a suggestion: Get a life!)
This bill should die a quick death. Last year, similar bills failed to pass in Kentucky, Florida, Nevada and Texas (hardly liberal bastions), and the Department of Justice has declared that restricting transgender students’ access to public restrooms amounts to sex discrimination under Title IX, but hey–this is Indiana.
For a legislature dominated by self-described proponents of “limited government,” the bills submitted thus far certainly are a mixed bag. On the one hand, our “small government” Christian conservatives are proposing a bill that would effectively outlaw abortions (no terminations after a heartbeat is detectable–about the same time most women find out they’re pregnant). On the other hand, it’s hard to square that “pro life” position with the bill allowing habitual drunks to buy guns, the bill removing the need to license guns, the bill to allow guns on college campuses…
Maybe they want to be able to shoot people they think are using the wrong potty?
In any case, if the “wrong toilet” and gun bills pass, I’m moving to a saner state….Evidently, there are a lot of them.