#Addthewords Issues Explained
by Justin Sesek
Just about every Democrat and independent I know supports the Add the Words bill. Unfortunately many Republicans have not, still clinging to arguments that somehow make “Could my boss not shitcan me for being gay that’d be great KTHX” into “We are hear to superglue pages of gay porn onto every page of the four Gospels and make you show them to everyone at Sunday service.” For those who are opposed, here are some things to consider. For those in support, here are some important points to bring up the next time your uncle with the John Deere hat sends you an email about the Add the Words Bill where he uses fascism and communism interchangeably (it’s the one after the message showing proof Obama was born in Nairobi but before the one he sends you about the Constitutionality of something and he cites a line from the Declaration of Indepence):
1. This bill is also good for business, which we all know is good for everyone in terms of creating high quality jobs. Major companies do not like to set up in states without strong anti-discrimination laws to protect their employees. For years corporations and tech startups in NoVa (Northern Virginia) were pissed because all the young talent they were trying to attract was all leaving for companies in Massachusetts and California and Illinois because those states had those laws and Virginia didn’t. Prior to Jan Brewer vetoing the anti-gay bill that would have allowed refusal of service to gay people the NFL actually threatened to pull the Super Bowl out of Arizona. Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce has endorsed this bill as good for business for this very reason. How do we want Idaho’s economy to be? Somewhere where companies like Apple and Google are looking at putting down footprints with high-paying jobs, or a state of nothing but agriculture and call centers while all our college-educated workforce goes to Seattle and San Francisco?
2. The story being pushed by opponents that gay people are banging down the doors of LDS temples and Cathedrals and churches demanding they be married is simply not happening. States like Illinois and Massachusetts and Minnesota have had these anti-discrimination laws in effect for years and the doomsday effect of pastors being forced to accommodate lesbian weddings isn’t happening. The stories of people having to bake cakes and getting sued if they don’t are so well known because they are so rare. I don’t want my dollars spent at a business that doesn’t accept me and most gay people feel that way. Some states have had these laws since the 80's and the nightmare scenario social conservatives paint has not happened there. Nor has it in certain VERY Catholic countries in Europe like France and Portugal. Aside from a few rabble-rousers most gay people stay away from unfriendly businesses. And when you boil it down to who is more wronged, who has a better case: (a.) the state won’t let me marry my partner so I am subjects to thousands of dollars in legal fees drawing up wills and POA documents and adoption papers or (b.) a florist who chooses to participate in commerce (which subjects them to normal laws in the public arena) may potentially be asked to do a flower arrangement for two women at some point in their career? One greatly outweigh the other, especially since people morally opposed to gay unions don’t technically count them as marriages anyways so in realty they’re just making flowers for two women who want to give them to each other. Imagine it: I just got evicted from my apartment because I brought a guy over and have nowhere to live—but hey at least a religious baker in one of the boring counties’ chance of being forced to make a cake that says “Aaron & Tyler” has dropped from .001% to zero. I’m sure I’ll take comfort in that as I’m moving my shit into my parent’s storage unit.
3. Opponents state that laws like Add the Words are “offensive” to them. Well guess what, Sunshine? You don’t have a constitutionally protected right not to be offended. Never have, never will. A lot of people who are opposed to this make themselves out to be such tough guys and tell liberals to man up, but saying you’re offended really means “I don’t like this and so everyone else has to accommodate me and stop what they’re doing because I’m not mature enough to deal with something like this.” You know who operate under this mindset? Seven year-olds. You’re an adult, you can handle living in a state that protects people you hate that you will never meet without getting your panties in a bunch like a teenage girl in an area with only Edge Network.
I’ve read Facebook comments from conservatives on news stories that I’ve found extremely offensive (all the ones I’m about to write I’ve seen). AIDS stands for Another Infected Dying Sodomite. AIDS proves evolution because it turns fruits into vegetables. All the liberals are at the Obama speech because they’re all bottom-feeders with no jobs. Obama is a Kenyan half-breed and his children are ugly. The gays should all be put on an island where they can die out or we can nuke it. Shoot down Air Force one when it tries to land at Gowen Field. My favorite ever was during the 2012 election when I saw a comment from the Redstate.com Facebook page that America will be a better place if Lake Michigan flooded Chicago and “they all drowned like sewer rats,” because as we all know nothing says Christian love like “I hope a massive natural disaster destroys the third largest city in America and kills 2,800,000 people I’ve never met.” Do I get to shut down their offensive comments? Do they get arrested? Do I get to make Facebook purge their comments so I don’t have to see them? Sure don’t! I have to live with seeing offensive shit around me every day, and you do too. It’s part of living in a free diverse society. “I’m offended” is the absolute dumbest argument ever constructed. If I’m offended your church says homosexuality is an abomination does that mean I get to burn it down? After all I find it “offensive.” Some liberals do this too for certain topics and it needs to stop on both sides.
4. Since sexual orientation isn’t protected at all I as a gay landlord could evict a Mormon family from their home when I find out their son is going on a mission and argue it’s because they are heterosexual. I can also fire you if I don’t like you because I found out you are straight by a mention of “my girlfriend” and you have no legal repercussions. If your boss fires you because your male and he finds out you have a girlfriend, are you ok with losing that job (along with any seniority, free perks, accrued vacation time, etc.) solely for that reason and just say “well it’s his right as an employer?” I doubt it. You’d fight like Hell and try to sue, only to find out under Idaho law that you have zero legal ground to stand on.
5. For those who scream religious freedom trumps all else: Would you use the same arguments if you swapped gay with Jewish? Or Mormon? It could technically violate my religious freedom to serve Jews. Should I be allowed to refuse a hotel room to a Mormon family and make them sleep in their car? Atheism can technically be argued is a religion—using religious freedom as an absolute means an Atheist boss can fire you for wearing a cross necklace—he could argue it violates his deeply held belief in the lack of a Higher Power to have what he would count as jewelry of a false idol in his office. Making the religious freedom argument pure means you would need to undo all anti-discrimination laws for race, religion, and gender. After all, couldn’t hiring a black person violate a Christian white supremacist’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
And let’s be honest about the one thing we all love: Muslims don’t eat pork, and could be offended seeing them at the store. Should be ban bacon because it might offend a group of people who will never even eat it?
6. My other favorite: that this is the Gay Agenda/Hollywood plot/Liberal plot to persecute people of faith and destroy family values. That’s cute that you think we have that much power, but no. The cornerstone of LGBT rights has always had four main pillars. Two down, two to go:
a. Decriminalize homosexual relations between consenting adults (started in 1961 when Illinois repealed its sodomy law, completed in 2003 with the Supreme Court overturning the identical laws in the 13 remaining states).
b. Ability to serve in the military. Completed when the Democratic majority rammed a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell through Congress on their way out of the door in December 2010.
c. Right to marry the person we love and all rights granted by the government that are afforded to heterosexuals. We’re almost done. Marriage is in effect in 37 states with five more with bans stuck down and on hold. And we may hit 50 at the end of June when the Supreme Court rules on the 6th Circuit case.
d. The right to not be fired, evicted, denied a bank loan or mortgage, or turned away from services (including medical care as a bill in Michigan is attempting) based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This is where were are most behind, with protections only in effect in 21 states.
That’s it. There are smaller ones limited to specific groups such as getting the ban on gay men donating blood lifted or bans on conversion therapy for minors, but once those four are complete, it’s over. We are not here to make everyone gay, nor are we here to stop you from teaching your children that gay people are sick and disgusting if you choose to do so. It’s probably going to make your kids assholes when they grow up and devoid of any decent outfits, but that’s a conversation for another day. For years Jews and Mormons and other groups that fell outside of the mainstream pushed for equality and when they reached a pretty safe level of acceptance they settled down. Jews aren’t demanding I put a Torah in my living room; we’re not going to get married at St. John’s Cathedral and force your alter boy son to be the ring bearer.
You don’t have to approve of our “lifestyle.” But you have to live with us. We’re not going away, and history has shown that we will win this eventually. Another time the political stars will align with a Democratic President, House, and Senate who will ram the national equivalent through Congress so this is going to happen whether you like it or not. It’s time to stop fighting for something that costs Idaho jobs and tourism dollars, sends our educated people to the blue states, and gives us a reputation as the Mississippi’s really white sister.