Despite what many within the Republican party might actually believe, it’s 2016 – not 1956. Though I wouldn’t fault you for thinking otherwise based upon many of the social policies the party still supports.
For example, their archaic view on homosexuality.
Sure, not all that long ago being gay was frowned upon by most of the country. Even as recently as 2008, Gallup only showed 40 percent of Americans in favor of legalized gay marriage. Though their most recent poll from May 2015 showed support for legalized same-sex marriage at 60 percent – a 20 point jump in just seven years. While homosexuals still have a very long way to go before they’ll truly be treated equally under our laws, it’s clear to any rational person that being gay is becoming much more accepted in this country.
But despite this reality, that hasn’t stopped some Republicans from doing just about anything they can to continue to treat gay Americans as second-class citizens. Perhaps the most brazen of these efforts has been seen in these new anti-LGBT laws that have been passed throughout the country. What these laws do, like the one recently passed in North Carolina, is they basically allow blatant discrimination against homosexuals. Essentially all a business owner has to do is claim “it’s against my religion” and they can flat-out refuse service to a gay person or couple.
It’s absurd. This is not about religion, it’s about bigotry and ignorance.
Well, in life we learn quickly the rule of “cause and effect.” And it seems the new anti-LGBT law in North Carolina is already producing some rather devastating economic effects.
A report released by Wake County’s leading tourism agency on Monday says that the county has lost more than $700,000 in response to the controversial House Bill 2 – and could lose millions more.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that four groups have canceled plans to hold events in Wake because of HB2, which some say discriminates against the transgender community, gays and lesbians.
The visitors bureau reported that 16 other groups, the names of which it didn’t disclose, also are reconsidering plans to hold events in Wake County. The groups would bring a combined 73,500 people to the area and infuse an estimated $24 million into the local economy, the report says.
The biggest: an undisclosed sports tournament that would bring an estimated 51,000 people and $4.5 million in spending to the area each year. Raleigh was expected to be in the bidding process for a four-year contract, the bureau said, but event organizers are now “monitoring the situation” with HB2.
This all added to an earlier report that President Obama was considering withholding billions of dollars in federal aid in response to the passage of the bill.
Keep in mind that this is all happening just a couple of weeks after the law was signed by the governor. I fully believe as time goes on North Carolina is going to face even more economic hardships as businesses, sporting events and other highly profitable sources of revenue for the state begin to vanish or even leave the state altogether. Over just a few years that could equate to billions in lost revenue for local businesses and communities. To say nothing about the companies that might leave the state due to this highly discriminatory law.
While I feel bad for the people who are caught in the middle of this fiasco, I’m glad that there are already signs that North Carolina is facing some very harsh backlash over its efforts to legally discriminate against members of the LGBT community. Because society needs to make it clear to Republicans that these laws, while acceptable within their circle of ignorance, are no longer acceptable in today’s society.