Sunday, April 05, 2015

198.3 - Not Good News: Arkansas and North Carolina considering even worse versions

Not Good News: Arkansas and North Carolina considering even worse versions

Unhappily, that segues us back into Not Good News: The Arkansas legislature has passed a law essentially identical to Indiana's and that bill's sponsors say there will be no "clarifications."

Doug McMillion, the CEO of Walmart, which is headquartered in the state, has called on the governor to veto the bill, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson has previously indicated he will sign it.

And North Carolina is considering a bill that's even worse: Where other laws say the issue arises in the face of a "substantial burden" on the supposed free exercise of religion, this one only requires a "burden." And where other laws say that those claims can be overriden by a "compelling state interest," this one says that interest must be "of the highest magnitude." Simply put, it would make a claim by any passing bigot - whether individual or corporation - for a special exemption from civil rights laws easier to make and harder to challenge.

A number of people have noted that a difference between Indiana's God Gave Me The Right To Be A Bigot laws and the others, most of which were passed years earlier, is the political and social environment in which they were enacted. Which is absolutely true; there has been real progress. The reaction to the Indiana law proves it. But that very fact means that the reactionaries will fight even harder, look for every trick they can find, to resist and roll back that progress. This is not over.

Note: There obviously have been some fast-moving events regarding the Indiana law which occurred after this show was done and so are not addressed here. They will be addressed next week in an Update.

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