These Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Shows We Still Have Work To Do
When Donald Trump won the presidential election last fall, the news worried LGBTQ+ rights groups, to say the least.
And with the June 15 signing of Texas HB 3859, Texas Governor Greg Abbott effectively allowed adoption agencies and foster care groups to deny services to LGBTQ+ individuals and non-Christians based on "sincerely held" religious beliefs.
It seems, then, that worried advocates might be right. This year, in fact, is shaping up to be one of the worst, in terms of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being introduced into state legislatures around the country.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of early March, more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills had been introduced in 29 states.
We've rounded up some of the worst legislation that's been introduced around the country so far this year, lest we forget that there's still tons of work to do.
South Dakota's Religious Exemption Adoption Bill
Similar to the Texas bill that allows discrimination against LGBTQ+ people seeking to adopt or foster children, agencies in South Dakota can deny services based on their religious beliefs. It was the first anti-LGBTQ+ bill of its kind to become law when Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the bill in March of this year.
South Dakota legislators also introduced a bathroom access bill early this year -- different from 2016's vetoed bathroom bill -- that would have made it illegal for trans people to enter bathrooms conforming to their gender identity, but that bill was defeated.
Tennessee Introduces 10 Different Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills So Far This Year
How can we count the ways? Despite ranking 36th in education and being considered one of the worst states to live in when it comes to crime rate, environment, and access to health care, Tennessee state legislators have been busy this year.
They have introduced legislation that would make it illegal for trans individuals to access bathrooms conforming to their gender identity. Another would have protected gay conversion therapy, but was dropped when criticism became too intense.
The House also passed a bill which could possibly define marriage as between one man and one woman. That bill is waiting for a Senate vote. A Senate Bill, which passed and is waiting for a House vote, would also make it illegal for individual municipalities to guarantee LGBTQ+ citizens non-discrimination protections.
Kentucky Allows Student Groups To Bar LGBTQ+ Members
Signed into law in March 2017, this measure allows student groups at Kentucky public schools to prevent LGBTQ+ students from joining said groups. It will also allow teachers to include mention of the Bible in discussions about religion and history.
Congressional Republicans Promise To Re-Introduce First Amendment Defense Act
As early as December 2016, Republican Senators were confident they could reintroduce -- and pass -- 2015's defeated FADA, a sweeping religious freedom bill that would allow businesses, government entities, individuals, and employers carte blanche for LGBTQ+ discrimination.