Arkansas Does Not Need Your Gay Business, Gays!
Oh, we are SNEERING at our home state of Arkansas right now, so hard. You see, we grew up in Little Rock during the days of Bill Clinton, back when Arkansas was Democrat Tuff, in a very blue dog way of course, but never mind. Now it's been overrun by the same extremist wingnuts who have taken over state legislatures and governors' mansions all over the South and beyond, with all the stupid that naturally follows those takeovers. Right now, Arkansas is ready to let a horrid, stupid bill become law, SB 202, wherein towns and hamlets and cozy, scenic criks will be banned from passing ordinances protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination. Why this big government intrusion from Little Rock? Because, of course, gays are gross, and we have to protect reg'lar Arkansans from the "chaos" that would ensue if LGBT people were treated equally:
Last week, both chambers of the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that would eliminate all local non-discrimination protections for LGBT Arkansans — legislation Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has vowed to let become law without his signature. While citizens are imploring Hutchinson to change his mind and veto the bill once it reaches his desk, Arkansas’ business community has remained silent on the measure.
Because that is what happens when you let wingnuts do business. Perhaps the fact that Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods, a company so awful (no, not just because of their gross chicken, you knew that part already) that it only scores a 30 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, sign the checks that Arkansas's ass cashes is a mitigating factor here! Every other Fortune 500 company has realized that LGBT employees are, strangely enough, human beings and also great employees, and that they're not taking some big stand by protecting them and giving them benefits. It's simply GOOD BUSINESS if they want to retain the best and the brightest. Wal-Mart, to their credit, is actually getting slightly better on that front, with a solid "we're trying" score of 90.
Because you guys, do you remember when Arizona did this very same thing? All the sad wingnuts were so terrified of the gay that they tried to push through a "license to discriminate" bill, but Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it
because she is a Marxist because such homogay corporations as Major League Baseball and the Super Bowl said HELL NO, would you like us to continue doing business in your state? Instead, Arkansas has Tyson and Wal-Mart who, to be fair going the other way, are only really being nicer to gays because of peer pressure from every other civilized corporation in the world.
And that is how you end up with stupid, stupid people like the bill's sponsor, Bart Hester, saying stupid, stupid things about how writing discrimination into Arkansas's laws will somehow "attract business," no really he said that:
The bill’s sponsor, Republican State Sen. Bart Hester, told BuzzFeed News this week that he sponsored the measure to create consistent policies across Arkansas that will attract business, and because he was infuriated that cities were attempting to expand civil rights laws for LGBT people.
“This bill creates uniformity for business, and citizens for that matter, so that our employment laws will be the same throughout the state,” Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger, the bill’s House sponsor, said before today’s vote on the House floor. “There are some things on a statewide basis we deal with all the time, such as murder and fraud — a variety of things that need to be uniform,” he said.
Yes, murder, fraud and gays getting fired from their jobs because they are gay, these are all the same thing, in Bob's wee mind. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if Fayetteville was nice to gays (they tried, but a slim, vile majority of their voters repealed it) while neighboring Springdale was not? The gays would all take their business to Fayetteville, which would hurt poor, put upon Springdale bigots just trying to make a dime, weep for them, America.
Luckily, there are a few Arkansan lawmakers left who live within the real world, like Rep. Clarke Tucker, who understands that All Real Companies protect LGBT employees, and told his lawmaking friends, according to Buzzfeed, that "if we pass this legislation, we will be sending a message that we are out of step with corporate culture today in 2015." Duh! You might have your homegrown corporations, Arkansas, but would you like some new ones, like, ever? Because this law, if it goes into effect, will effectively disqualify Arkansas from consideration for many, many corporations, ones that might like to bring nice JOBS to the state.
And really, Gov. Hutchinson is just being a big old wussy about this. He doesn't even really LIKE the law, because big government taking away local control is not a thing Republicans tend to be a fan of, except for when it's a federal hate the gays and the 'bortions act. But on the other hand, he says he is concerned about "burdensome regulations" being put upon poor cake bakers and wedding photographers who love Jesus too much to love their LGBT neighbors at the same time, there's only so much love to go around, you know.
Obnoxious as this is, there IS a Nice Time we can include in this post, and it goes by the name of Donald Collins, the gay brother of Arkansas bigot Rep. Charlie Collins, who proudly voted for SB202. Donald wrote a blistering, amazing open letter on behalf of himself, their lesbian sister (oh yes, Charlie is willing to fuck TWO of his siblings over, for Religious Freedom) and all LGBT Arkansans who will be hurt by this bill, encouraging Arkansas's governor not to be so lazy and take a decent stand for once. We will excerpt one of our favorite parts of the letter, and once that makes you smile, you can go read the rest:
I think it’s inconsiderate, hypocritical and rude for Charlie to accept the assistance of my sister, who has been out as a lesbian in the business community for more than 25 years, while at the very same time undermining the types of protections and benefits she and her family enjoy. Thanks in part to his effort if she lived and worked in Fayetteville, and soon possibly all of Arkansas, she might not have a job, and if she did, her wife and their two boys would not have the benefits and protections they have today. The same fate would apply to me. Rather than being recognized and awarded by the district and community for excellence as a teacher during the nearly two decades I’ve spent as an educator working in a district with a clear non-discriminatory policy I might have been fired for being gay, or been forced to live an unhappy charade.
And THAT is what I call Arkansas family values, GO HOGS. Something tells me Charlie Collins is not getting invited to any of the Thanksgivings ever again. If Charlie would like to learn what it means to be a real brother, your Wonkette has a straight brother, also from Arkansas, who probably would be willing to learn him a few things about stuff, ha ha ha.