For Immediate Release
March 24, 2016
Contact: Jerame Davis
Pride at Work Condemns Anti-LGBTQ Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC – Less than three months into the new year, nearly 200 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in statehouses around the country. In the past week, two of those bills – in North Carolina and Kansas – have passed into law and another – in Georgia – is pending the governor’s signature.
On Tuesday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a so-called “religious freedom” bill that allows discrimination against LGBTQ people on college campuses. Yesterday, in a special session called solely for the purpose of discriminating against LGBTQ people, the North Carolina legislature swiftly passed – and the governor signed – a ban on local nondiscrimination laws in the state as well as requiring transgender individuals to use the restroom of the gender they were assigned at birth. Georgia’s “religious freedom” bill that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people statewide has passed both houses of the legislature and is awaiting the governor’s decision to sign or veto the measure.
Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, reacted strongly to these abominable efforts to undermine LGBTQ progress.
“After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality nationwide, we knew there would be backlash. With nearly 200 bills filed – at least one bill in all but seven states – the forces of discrimination have made their intentions clear: They are going to throw everything they can at us to see what sticks.
“Religious freedom is already protected by the U.S. Constitution. What these so-called “religious freedom” bills actually do is create a hostile environment for LGBTQ people at work, in the streets, and in safe spaces like our schools and public institutions. This is government sanctioned persecution that has nothing to do with protecting anyone’s faith or liberty.
“As if excusing discrimination for religious reasons wasn’t enough, these laws also target transgender students trying to use the restroom that matches their gender identity. Apparently, if you can’t pick on someone your size, go for the kids. We have reached a new low in this country when children at school are targeted for mistreatment.
“But the North Carolina legislature wasn’t quite satisfied with picking on LGBTQ folks. They also quietly passed a ban on local wage laws, effectively banning minimum wage increases in the state unless they are passed by the General Assembly. Working people making minimum wage need a raise, but in North Carolina, they’ll now have to ask permission from the state legislature to get one.
“In states desperately in need of jobs and infrastructure, lawmakers are focused on legalizing discrimination and harassing people in restrooms. It’s just astounding. Pride at Work condemns these regressive laws as well as those in other states, including those that are still pending. We also call upon Congress to swiftly pass the Equality Act at the federal level in order to nullify the injustice of these attempts to circumvent progress for the LGBTQ community.
“Peddlers of discrimination know that a union collective bargaining agreement is the best protection for all working people, including LGBTQ workers. It is no coincidence that the states passing these backward laws are also right-to-work states, where unionization is low and working people have few options to protect themselves with a strong collective bargaining agreement.
“These laws are ugly and un-American. We will not rest until they are repealed and replaced with strong, durable protections for LGBTQ people.”
Pride At Work organizes mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community for social and economic justice. We seek full equality for LGBT Workers in our workplaces and unions and we organize in the spirit of the union movement’s historic motto, “An Injury to One is An Injury to All.” Learn more at www.prideatwork.org