Sunday, May 15, 2016

Republicans Are Playing Political Games With Citizen Rights

Republicans, especially the evangelical christians in their base, are not happy unless they have a group of people they can look down on (i.e., discriminate against). Their most recent victim is the LGBT community. For years they fought to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry the person they loved, but they lost that battle when the Supreme Court ruled that was against the Constitution (a violation of citizen rights).

That didn't end the GOP quest to discriminate though. They are still pushing discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and even in schools. And to show just how stupid they can get, they have now extended that discrimination to bathrooms.

North Carolina made the first move in this latest bit of discrimination by passing a law saying members of the transgendered community must use the bathroom designated by the gender listed on their birth certificate. They are trying to excuse their discrimination by claiming it is a "safety" measure. That is ridiculous. Transgendered Americans have been using the bathroom of the sex they consider themselves to be for ages now -- and there are no documented cases of people being placed in danger because of it. It does however, pose a danger for the transgendered to be forced into a bathroom of the opposite sex (especially for a transgendered female forced to use a male bathroom).

Now Republican officials in other states are considering passing the same kind of law against transgendered people. The Texas Lt. Governor has promised the state will consider such a law when the legislature meets in January of 2017 (the Texas legislature only meets in odd-numbered years). And other GOP-dominated states are talking about doing the same.

This is nothing but a political game. They are trying to scare voters with a trumped up situation -- one that they cannot enforce anyway. All it does is drum up hate for the LGBT community.

President Obama recently stepped up to stop this discriminatory nonsense (at least in our schools). He has, through the U.S. Attorney General, sent letters to thousands of schools in this country. He told them they cannot deny the right of a transgendered child to use the bathroom of the sex they believe themselves to be. His executive order is not law, but it could be used to deny federal funds to schools that discriminate.

Republican officials in Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi are now urging the schools in their states to ignore the federal mandate. They claim the schools are a local and state matter, and the federal warning is out of line because of that. They claim the federal government should have no say in what the schools do. They are right about the schools being controlled by the state and local governments, but they are wrong in believing those schools should then have the right to discriminate against their students.

There is nothing in the president's decree that would affect the education of students in any way. All it does is remind the schools they must protect the rights of all students (including transgendered students). And the federal government does have the responsibility for protecting the rights of all Americans -- including those in our schools. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution says:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

All the president is doing is making sure that schools obey the Constitution -- and that is his duty. It is time for Republican politicians to stop playing political games with the rights of American citizens.

(Both of the images above were posted to my Facebook page by friends. I don't know their origin.)

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