On Transgender Day of Visibility, DNC Chair Speaks Out Against Republican Anti-LGBT Efforts

Elected officials are finding ways to deny LGBT individuals of their right to full and equal protection under the law. File graphic.

The Republican Party just can't help themselves. From North Carolina, Mississippi and now Arkansas, elected officials are finding ways to deny LGBT individuals of their right to full and equal protection under the law.

In celebration of the Transgender Day of Visibility, DNC Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is calling on GOP lawmakers and elected officials to end their divisive, discriminatory campaign to erode legal protections for members of the LGBT community.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi legislature passed the "Religious Liberty Accommodations Act," an anti-LGBT bill that fosters bigotry under the guise of allowing people, businesses or religious organizations to refuse service to members of the LGBT community. The bill goes as far as allowing businesses and organizations to impose "sex-specific standards or policies" on behavior.

That same day, Arkansas' Republican Attorney General asked the state Supreme Court to review a Fayetteville ordinance, saying that the ordinance conflicts with a state law prohibiting localities from passing their own laws to prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

"Instead of tearing down the walls that divide, the Republican Party is erecting new barriers of bigotry. The Republican-dominated Mississippi legislature passed a horrific, so-called religious liberty bill that promotes intolerance. Religious liberty should never be used as a license to discriminate. This bill can be too broadly interpreted, and can be used as justification for county clerks to deny marriage licenses for same-sex couples or for businesses to fire LGBT employees solely based on their orientation.

"Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is equally wrong for appealing a decision backing Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance. Apparently Fayetteville voters learned something in kindergarten that the AG hasn't – it's wrong to bully or harass people for their differences. Arkansas should not follow North Carolina's disgusting example.

"As we celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility, we need to recommit ourselves to fighting against the discriminatory laws that Republican-controlled legislatures have passed or are trying to pass. Our nation has worked too hard to distance ourselves from the ugliest chapters in our history when discrimination was codified by our laws. We cannot move forward as a people or as a nation if we design laws that seek to diminish or demean people because of who they are or who they love." 


The Gayly- 3/31/2016 @ 4:03 PM CDT