It took the threat of an economic boycott and the declaration that the Hoosier State is an apartheid state to get presidential hopeful Pence to walk back his homophobic bill of hideousness. It seems that mistakes were made by the readers of the law, not by the writers of the law. Just because the law states that merchants are within their "religious" rights to deny service to the LGBT community doesn't mean that bigots don't respect the gays, whined Pence and his cohort. Their gateway drug to pre-civil rights right-wing euphoria seems to have gotten recalled before even making it out of Dr. Moreau's lab of legislative horrors. At least its toxicity might get watered down:
Money talks. Gay people and the people related to them and the people who do business with them spend money. Pence saw the $$$ on the wall. Although he may rely on anonymous billionaires to finance his state and national political machinations, he still relies on ordinary people for his continued professional existence. Better to pretend to swallow his bitter moral pill now so that he upchuck it back out at us later in a different form. Hate takes so many forms, and even haters are sometimes forced to pick their battles.Speaking at a news conference, Mr. Pence said he thought the clarification was needed because of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the legislation.He said that while the intent of the bill was not to discriminate against gay people, state officials must confront the perception that the law would allow just that. He asked lawmakers to pass legislation that would be on his desk by the end of the week.“I believe this is a clarification — but it’s also a fix,’ Mr. Pence said. “I’m determined to address this this week.”The law has set off a firestorm, with both critics and some supporters saying it would allow businesses to deny service to lesbian and gay customers if it offended their religious beliefs. Businesses, organizations, politicians and many celebrities have spoken out against the law, some of them canceling events in the state.
Although the Supreme Court has granted corporations speech rights, the granting of religious rights as cover for all manner of civil rights abuses is finally getting some blowback. When the NCAA threatens to pull the basketball championship from the Basketball State, even bigotry has to take a back seat to greed.
Which brings us to the rest of the country. Although there is no direct proof that the libertarian American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has directly orchestrated the sudden simultaneous influx of religious bigotry laws, they do have "bill mill" written all over them. The authors of the Indiana law are, in fact, members of ALEC. And while ALEC officials deny they're behind the Indiana law and others like it, they also deny having anything to do with gun control legislation -- despite providing the template for the Stand Your Ground laws that enable the extermination of black people by thugs like George Zimmerman.
So, since the economic threat to Indiana has turned out so well, how about a boycott of not only the states passing homophobic and racist laws, but of all the states and cities hosting ALEC conferences? Its next big confab is the annual Spring Task Force Summit on May 15 in Savannah, Georgia -- which relies very, very heavily on those millions of tourism dollars for its continued survival. How about we put our state legislatures on notice that we won't countenance spending public money to send our elected officials on this junket and others like it?
|No More Trickle-Down Bigotry on the Public Dime|
Gay advocacy and other civil rights groups might also spend their money to register for this event and liven things up a bit. You're apparently allowed to bring along a spouse, but not a live-in partner. The registration form actually stipulates "legal" spouse only, along with members of one's immediate, legal family. I am not kidding. Guests must wear their legal spouse name-tags at all times to seminars plotting such abominations as how to get rid of clean air and water and health care for the masses.
The possibilities for fun are endless. And the actual summit only lasts for one day, so as to give participants plenty of time to conspicuously cavort and consume in Savannah, even take pleasure cruises to nearby Hilton Head Island. And it gives potential party crashers, both gay and straight, black and white and brown, plenty of time to picket and boycott and raise a general ruckus at every luxury venue where your local legislative grifter is caught living it up on the public dime.
Would lawmakers even dare show their faces in Savannah after the Indiana debacle? Of course they would. Because staying away would require a moral compass and the capacity for shame, which are automatic disqualifiers to ALEC membership. Any sense of shame has to be applied firmly from without and come attached with a price tag payable only by the actual venal politician caught in the act of serial perfidy.
Because money talks.