Almost all states have enacted legislation that protects citizens from assault, intimidation and threats based on a victim’s race, religion, color, disability, sex, national origin or sexual orientation. That is except South Carolina, Indiana, Wyoming, Arkansas and Georgia.
In 2016, in response to white supremacist Dylaan Roof murdering nine African-American church goers, South Carolina’s democrats introduced a bill to supply that protection. The bill died in the state house without so much as a hearing.
The main opposition to these bills comes from Christian fundamentalist groups opposing protection for gays, lesbians and transgendered people. The Christian group, Family Research Council, has said that these laws act as a Trojan horse and will lead to anti-discrimination status for gays and lesbians, which they vehemently oppose.
Opposition leaders claim these laws limit free speech and that no one can know what a person believes. They claim motivations are always subjective. They also fear that these laws unfairly protects certain groups. Focus on the Family, a Christian group, has also worked to stop these bills. From their website:
There are twenty states with non-discrimination acts on the books. Left unchecked, homosexual activists could strong-arm churches into permitting civil union ceremonies in their sanctuary, force pastors to officiate such unions against their will, and fine photographers, catering services, florists, bakers, wedding planners, musicians or other businesses who, due to their religious convictions, elect not to service certain cliental.
In 1993 the Supreme Court ruled that hate-crime legislation does not infringe upon free speech.
A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign has stated that there is no question that Christian activists have been a force in stopping these bills from passing and that “homophobia gives lawmakers an easy excuse to stand up against these bills”.
Sign up to receive the best articles, expert tips and recipes from Mindfulness Green...
PLUS get your free guide to peace of mind: