Friday, April 3, 2015
Hate Gays? GET OVER IT!
Thank you Indiana Legislature and Governor Mike Pence! Indiana beat Georgia to the punch and saved our state from a death blow by passing the highly controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This is the same legislation that I’ve been telling you that was introduced in the Georgia legislature.
As soon as Indiana Governor Pence signed it into law last week, a firestorm erupted from some of the biggest employers in Indiana. These included huge Fortune 500 companies; you know, the big money people. It didn’t take long to bring the Governor to his knees and “fix” it with new language to make it acceptable to the business community.
This new language now guarantees protection to anyone in the LGBT community. This was the last thing these lawmakers intended to do. Gays should feel compelled to move to Indiana now because it is a safe-haven. I have not stopped laughing yet.
I know, you know, and they know that this Bill was designed to discriminate against gay people. In doing so, it would open up a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences like providing a defense for child abuse or domestic violence. A telltale sign was that no one would, or could explain why this law was not discriminatory and why we even needed it. Governor Pence was on Face the Nation and he was so pathetic, I even started feeling sorry for him. (Not really). The Republican script used by all was “I don’t know why people think it’s discriminatory. It’s the same Bill signed by Bill Clinton in 1993.” It is NOT and we should not let them snooker us. The Bill signed by President Clinton was a Federal Statute having only to do with the Federal Government restricting religious freedom. It had nothing to do with individuals or businesses. Nice try guys!
Back here at home in Georgia, the Legislature could have passed this Bill weeks ago. We’ll never know, but my theory is they saved this Bill as the grand finale of the 2015 session. The passage of this Bill just before the bell of adjournment would have been the defining law of the legislature and Senator Josh McKoon, (R-Columbus) would have been a right-wing hero.
However, thanks to what happened in Indiana over the weekend and the humiliation Governor Pence experienced, there is no way Governor Deal would walk that road. So, Georgia dodged a bullet. For now, but something tells me it’s not over. This Bill stays alive until next year. It has already passed the Senate and is in the House Committee. It stays just where it was when the session adjourned. It could possibly be the first Bill up for a vote in the 2016 session.
So what did we learn from all this? I hope we learned that if you’re going to preach it, you need to practice it…..love. If you’re caught up in the anti-gay hatred, GET OVER IT! You are going to be on the wrong side of history, just as so many people were about slavery. And just so you’re prepared, any time now one of your children, grand-children, or someone else you love will come out of the closet. Will you open the door with love or slam it shut out of hatred?