Lawmakers have tried to curtail the rights of the LGBTQ community for decades, but since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June of 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges, lawmakers across the country have been introducing, and in some cases passing, bills that write discrimination into law.
The ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges concluded that states could no longer refuse to recognize legally married same-sex couples from other states or prohibit the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- Religious freedom
- Parental rights
- Transgender discrimination
- Adoption rights
- Attacking marriage equality
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, R-MI, signed HB 1523 into law on April 5, 2016. The law will go into effect July 1, 2016. HB 1523 allows people and businesses to refuse service to anyone on the basis of religious objection to same-sex marriage, extramarital sex or transgender people. The law effectively takes away the right of any citizen refused service to take the individual or business to court or to have any recourse against discrimination.
In April 2016 Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, R-TN, signed Senate bill 1556 into law. The law, effective upon Haslam’s signature, allows therapists and counselors to refuse service to anyone on the grounds of “deeply held beliefs”. Originally, the bill contained language citing religious freedoms but that language was removed. The law does require service providers to provide help to anyone who is an immediate danger to themselves or others and requires providers to refer clients to another provider.
Gov. Pat McCrory, R-N.C., signed into law HB 2 on March 23, 2016. The law requires people to use restrooms and locker rooms according to the gender assigned to them at birth.
Arkansas passed SB 202 in 2015 which reversed anti-discrimination ordinances in the state and prevents any such ordinances from passing anywhere in the state.
State’s rights v. the Federal Government is a long-running debate in the U.S. The opponents of the right to abortion gained in the Roe v. Wade decision have found success by introducing and passing legislation that limits the right to abortion in many states. Those who oppose LGBTQ rights have adopted the same tactics with success.
Jennifer Bendery, of the Huffington Post, points to over 100 “bills like this right now, across 22 states. They fall into a handful of categories — some are bathroom bills, some let judges refuse to marry same-sex couples, some let businesses deny services to LGBT people — but they all have the same goal: legalizing discrimination against queer people.” Bendery provided a list of the bills in consideration.
According to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the cost of legislation varies between $450 and $40,000. On the low end of the estimate, the bills currently in process would cost citizens $45,000 and on the high end that is a whopping $4 million cost just to get the legislation written and passed. Along with those costs comes the inevitable court battles to squelch the legislation. Some studies suggest the average cost of litigation ranges from $10,000 and up. Law enforcement also costs.