L.A. Times opinion writer Scott Martelle, calling the Arizona “religious freedom” bill what it is:
Reading the latest news out of Arizona on gay rights brings an image to mind: Jim Crow.
The Arizona Legislature on Thursday approved a law that would allow a business owner to refuse service to a gay customer if doing so would violate the practice of the owner’s religion. So, as our colleague Cindy Carcamo writes from Tucson, a baker could refuse to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple if her faith proscribes homosexuality. Further, a hotel owner with similar beliefs could deny a room to traveling lesbians. Two men holding hands ask for a table in a near-empty restaurant? The God-fearing owner could bar the door without risking a discrimination lawsuit.
23:29 // 5 months ago
LGBT writer Brandon Ambrosino, who often writes about issues of religion and culture, suggests that GLAAD may have done more harm than good by jumping into the “Duck Dynasty” fray:
Founded in 1985 in the wake of the AIDS crisis, GLAAD was formed to protest skewed coverage of LGBT issues and “to put pressure on media organizations to end homophobic reporting.” The original name was an acronym for “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” and although the organization has recently rebranded itself by deciding that the letters G-L-A-A-D aren’t actually going to stand for anything any more, their reputation for protesting defamatory speech is well known both within and without the LGBT community.
It goes without saying that GLAAD has done a great deal of good for the LGBT community, and for that they deserve our applause and honor. As they noted in their announcement heralding their name change, their work continues to educate and influence the greater culture. Historically they’ve been a symbol of inclusion and tolerance, and they’ve worked tirelessly to infuse these values into our controlling media discourses. Frankly, though, I don’t think their hasty reaction to Phil Robertson displayed our LGBT community’s best values.
Before many of us even learned that Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ, GLAAD had already convinced us that Phil’s words were vile and offensive, and called upon A&E “to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” (I still wonder how many of us – commentators included – have read the actual story in GQ.) A&E offered its own kneejerk response to GLAAD’s kneejerk response, and placed Phil on “indefinite” hiatus, which then prompted some Evangelicals to offer up their own kneejerk response which had something to do with the freedom of speech and now – did I hear this correctly? – Chick-fil-A. In the end, after carefully reviewing all of the responses, A&E issued a final response explaining their decision to lift Phil’s suspension, which resulted in yet another predictable response from GLAAD. I’m not sure how we do it, but we manage to craft responses to our opponents without ever having actual conversations with them.
Ambrosino argues that GLAAD’s focus needs to change: "But as America edges closer and closer to unqualified and full inclusion of LGBT persons, I wonder if an organization whose raison d’etre is to find and shame instances of discrimination isn’t just a bit archaic." Thoughts?
13:12 // 7 months ago
HARTFORD – The Connecticut Insurance Department is directing all health insurance companies operating in the state to provide coverage of mental health counseling, hormone therapy, surgery and other treatments related to a patient’s gender transition.
A big victory for trans rights: A lot of insurance companies refuse to cover gender reassignment surgery, but Connecticut ruled last week that all insurers in the state have to cover both the surgery and other treatments related to gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy and counseling. The determination was based on two existing laws: One banning discrimination based on gender identity, and one requiring insurers to cover mental health treatment. Gender dysphoria is listed as a mental health disorder in the latest DSM; while there are a lot of reasons one could reasonably be upset about this, the upshot is that it gave the Connecticut Insurance Department additional legal justification for bolstering the rights of trans folk in the state.
16:46 // 7 months ago