Bil Browning

Telling the Whole Story [Comment of the Week]

Filed By Bil Browning | August 12, 2012 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Chick-fil-A boycott, infographic map, nondiscrimination laws, right to work laws, right to work states

A commenter stopped by my post, "Best Chick-fil-A Infographic Yet," that highlighted the states where it would be legal for the homophobic chicken chain to fire gay or lesbian employees for their sexual orientation. Cartografia.pngHe points out one glaring omission: right to work states.

Ted VanWhy ยท Portland, Oregon

I don't think this map tells the whole story. The states in gray are the states where there are laws to protect people if the reason for firing is stated or known to be that someone is LGBT (or a suspect). But among those gray states are several so-called "right-to-work" states where someone can be terminated for any reason or for no reason. All a bigoted employer needs to do in such states is play its cards close to its vest, and there is no recourse, as long as they don't come out and say "I'm firing you because your a queer" or something of the sort.

I agree that we need these laws, partly to protect us but mostly to indicate that we as a society don't sanction that sort of bigotry. But let's not lull ourselves into a false sense of security just because we may live in one of the gray states. It's people's understanding that needs to evolve to truly affect the kind of change we're striving for.

It's also important to point out that the map on features states where gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers can get fired for their sexual orientation. It doesn't include transgender workers who can be fired for their gender identity. Some of those grey states - like New York - still don't have a law in the books to outlaw gender identity discrimination.

Log Cabin Republicans dissolved their Dallas chapter after the leader made a comment deemed as condoning racial discrimination, but the reality is he was simply saying the same thing Ted does; there are easy ways to skirt nondiscrimination laws in right to work states. Unfortunately, the poor guy said it badly instead of as well as Ted did.

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