By: Andrew Shaughnessy
Several State legislatures are taking aim at local LGBT nondiscrimination protections this legislative session. Texas, Arkansas, West Virginia, etc. have all introduced (some have passed!) legislation that would roll back local ordinances within a State that protects LGBT people from discrimination. Ultimately, banning localities from passing nondiscrimination protections for its local LGBT citizens.
Missouri could be the next state facing a similar challenge. Representative Caleb Rowden, HD-44, introduced legislation that would ban localities from extending minimum wage increases, as well as employment benefits. We are keeping an eye on HB 865 for further developments if amended to include LGBT nondiscrimination protections.
States considering this type of legislation should be ashamed of themselves! Having a State intervene by banning municipalities from enacting ordinances to protect its citizens is overreaching state intrusion into our communities. Though conflict has always existed between Municipal, State and Federal entities, nevertheless, this action by States can only be justified as pure bigotry.
Having worked in West Virginia, and for the greater part of my career Missouri, on helping municipalities extend several local ordinances that protect LGBT people, I can assure you that these localities acted in the best interest of their community.
We know that LGBT folks exist everywhere in the United States, according to 2010 Census data. In knowing this, what sense does it make to roll back protections that localities have put in place that allow individuals the ability to work and live free from discrimination. Why are these legislatures pushing discrimination?