I got more mail after this week’s column than I’ve ever gotten before, partly because of the content, but also because I was placed, of the first time, on the front page of the paper’s Faith section with my column. Most letters were supportive, and others were simply – and predictably – one-sided rants. However, there were a couple who actually seemed interested in learning more about the law.

Here’s a good explanation:

“Introduced by Sen. Jennifer Veiga and Rep. Joel Judd, SB 08-200 will expand language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, including transgender status, in housing practices, public accommodation, eligibility for jury service, availability of family planning services, as well as many other areas.”

Basically, it expands the illegality of discriminating based on sexual orientation in the public forum, including public services, etc. So, of course, opponents go straight to bathrooms, which was never a focus of the bill, and paint a grim picture of what may happen by giving equal rights. They interpret the law as allowing people of the opposite sex to wander legally into other bathrooms and accost women and children. The points I didn’t go into in the article are that: 

  • Nowhere in the more than 20 states that have similar laws have any incidents of sexual assaults increase, bathrooms or otherwise.
  • Sexual assault is still a crime, regardless of discrimination law, and stalking women and children in bathrooms is criminal.
  • Sexual predators are not particularly influenced by legislation. They are driven by sexual addiction, which transcends logic and reason.
  • It is a parent’s responsibility to watch after their children, not the state’s anyway. If you’re concerned about your kids in public restrooms, for crying out loud, don’t send them in there alone.

It’s another example of lowest common denominator propaganda, dragging an otherwise affirming law recognizing the equal rights of human beings down to a handful of extreme hypotheticals that never have been realized anywhere else in the nation. What it says to me is that people are afraid of marginalized groups, particularly with whom they don’t agree, having the same rights and power as they. We’ve seen this before – same song, different verse.

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