My home state, Georgia, just tried to pass an RFRA bill. The backlash has begun. These so-called “Religious Freedom” bills are our next battleground.
Georgia really comes as no surprise. The Deep South state with further disenfranchise us and it’ll hurt its economy in the end. We are Georgia’s business owners and industry leaders. We made Atlanta look good. And the big businesses in the capital are gay-friendly — Delta Airlines and the movie industry. Atlanta is a film destination — several Marvel blockbusters are slated to film there, and many hit TV shows already are. We’ll see how these businesses, which are funneling revenue into the state, respond when its queers get attacked.
As for me, I’m ready to move. Let’s leave the red-state conservatives to rot in the trash of history. In thirty years, their children will embarrassingly vote away these bills. But of course, it’s not so simple. A return to Jim Crowe — which is what these bills are — should be a dangerous and unnerving concept for anyone who remembers what legal, state-sanctioned discrimination looks like. Those laws take a long time to be done away with.
The LGBTQ community is a threat to them now because we’re winning. Their modern far-right conservatism is a responsive movement — they’re tired and unnerved at seeing queers on TV, and they recognize a growing shift in public opinion. According to statistics, support for LGBT rights has doubled among people of all ages in the United States since 2000. It’s not just youth. With more exposure and conversation about LGBT Rights in mainstream media, attitudes across generations are changing.
If you’re really concerned and want to kill these bills, call your state representatives. Write your legislators. And most importantly, vote, and vote for the party and the candidate that is progressively minded. The population of the country that is the most socially liberal — millennials and anyone born in the late 80’s, early 90’s — is the community that simply does not show up at the polls on election day, and certainly not for midterm elections. That needs to change.
If you have religious friends who “are totally down with the gays” but support these proposed bills, explain to them how they hurt us. A doctor can claim “religious freedom” and say it’s against his religion to perform surgery on a gay or transgender patient and be legally protected. The ramifications of this are huge. It’s more than just bakery owners and pizza makers.
Buckle down. This one is going to get bitter.