Don’t be misled by headlines that say Sen. Greg Standridge (R-Russellville) will withdraw a broad bill to prohibit use of any public restroom by someone with a birth certificate that doesn’t match the posted gender. The bathroom fight isn’t over.
As this article makes clear, he has further unconstitutional meanness in mind.
Standridge said Thursday that instead of seeking passage of his bathroom-access bill he will file a bill to “help our school superintendents, school boards and everything else … feel a little more comfortable about setting their policies when it comes to dealing with bathroom issues.”
The planned bill would give schools immunity from lawsuits over their policies on bathroom access, but it would not dictate what those policies should be, he said.
Come on. You know what this is about. It’s to give a pass to discrimination against transgender students. Standridge isn’t looking to protect the rare school district that respects and protects transgender students.
Standridge and others depict this as “compromise” and not a “North Carolina bill.” They are wrong. There is no compromise. Also: Arkansas is already North Carolina. We have two laws from 2015 every bit as bad as that in North Carolina. We have legalized discrimination against LGBT people to all who cite a religious pretext and the anti-gay Arkansas Supreme Court just said another law prohibits local governments from giving civil rights protection to LGBT people.
Standridge’s civil immunity bill for schools that allow discrimination against transgender children would give us a trifecta of discrimination. No human rights group will support it. Federal constitutional rights are not to be given away by the Arkansas legislature, though it certainly tried to do so in the Faubus era. Any civil immunity granted here might well be upheld by a state Supreme Court ever ready to kiss up to the legislature, but — so far — the Arkansas legislature doesn’t set federal court rules.
Mean and stupid is no way to go through life, but the Arkansas legislature this week seems determined to do otherwise.
Almost alone among his GOP posse, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has not been mean and stupid during this legislative session. He’s tried to keep this issue off the table. Can he succeed this rebranded assault on children?