Sunday, March 1, 2015

March 1, 2015

Have you heard of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, Poppets? In a nutshell, they are the epitome of why the push for marriage equality scares me. Because even as marriage equality is spreading like wildfire, the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are gaining momentum, as well.

Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, or RFRAs, give individuals and businesses the right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community for religious reasons. And while having a baker or florist refuse to participate in your wedding because you and your spouse are the same gender really fucking sucks and I won’t deny that, we’re talking about so much more than that.

Want to sit by your spouse’s hospital bedside? Not if the hospital administration doesn’t recognize your marriage, even if the state does. Would you like to keep your apartment after your teenager comes out? Better hope your landlord doesn’t disapprove on religious grounds, because there are no housing protections under RFRAs. Should your daughter’s teacher protect her from bullies in the classroom? Doesn’t have to if she agrees with the bullies. Does your state offer health insurance to same-sex partners? Not necessarily, if your company has religious objections.

These laws trump everything else, Poppets. They are the way out. There are no constraints on them. They are the concession to discrimination. They are bills being written by people who do not understand that not being allowed to discriminate and oppress does not equal discrimination and oppression. And they are bills being passed, and signed into law.

Even Fox News has referred to these laws as “homosexual Jim Crow laws” and “dangerous precedent.” Do you realize how wrong the RFRAs have to be in order for Fox News to be concerned about the sweeping damage they could do to us?

And yet my Facebook feed is overflowing with excitement over marriage equality. Every new state that passes it gets the bells and whistles and parades. I first heard about Arkansas passing its RFRA from Buzzfeed. Yep. The comic-funny-timewasting site. But plenty of news stations (and social media sites, and political rallies) are talking about the Supreme Court taking up marriage equality.

So I sigh. I sigh deeply. And I remember that I have raged about this so many times and still it continues. I want to stop raging, Poppets. I do. I want to be excited about wedding cakes and flower arrangements. I want to trust that, once marriage equality is a reality, we will move on to overturning RFRAs. And employment protection. And housing protection. And the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I want to believe that – and so I will keep forcing myself to believe it until I am proven wrong. Because I have to believe our lives matter more than wedding cakes.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

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