State Legislatures Have Introduced Almost 350 Bills To Limit LGBT Rights Since 2013

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Whether it’s being murdered for who they are or being told by the commander-in-chief that they can’t serve their country, transgender individuals don’t exactly have it easy. Despite winning some legal protections over the years at the federal level, more and more state legislatures are going out of their way to curb the rights of the LGBT community as a whole.

According to a joint investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Washington Post, state lawmakers have introduced 348 bills since 2013 aimed at restricting LGBT civl rights, and 23 became law, going against years of shifting public opinion. More worryingly, the number of bills introduced each year has risen steadily, until this one: “In the first half of 2017 alone, at least 70 bills that could limit LGBT rights have been introduced, a steep increase from previous years.”

The bills in question appear to be divided into two categories: religious freedom and 1st Amendment protection bills that allow businesses and individuals to refuse service to LGBT customers and “bathroom bills.” While the former has fallen off, “bathroom bills” are becoming more and more common, even though they have proven to be economically disastrous.

The bills appear to be aimed solely to combat federal regulations, such as then-Attorney General Eric Holder saying Civil Rights Act covers discrimination based on gender identity. Soon after that proclamation, Arizona passed Senate Bill 1191 which makes the process of changing one’s name more difficult and bars transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates.

The raft of creative, petty bills go into areas like adoption and foster care and life on college campuses, but perhaps the cruelest of all are preemption bills, “which prohibit local governments from passing anti-discrimination bills that exceed protections given by the state.”

Economically harmful legislation targeting vulnerable groups is nothing new for Republicans, but it’s still shocking to see it presented in such staggering terms.

(Via Washington Post)