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Meanwhile… In Opposite Land

Tuesday, Jun 6, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller


For the first time in its four-decade history, America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization has declared a national state of emergency for members of the LGBTQ+ community, the Human Rights Campaign said Tuesday.

“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived – they are real, tangible and dangerous,” the group’s president, Kelley Robinson, said. “In many cases they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives and flee their homes in search of safer states, and triggering a tidal wave of increased homophobia and transphobia that puts the safety of each and every one of us at risk.”

Alongside the emergency declaration, the group will release a digital guidebook, including health and safety resources, a summary of state-by-state laws, “know your rights” information and resources designed to support LGBTQ+ travelers and those living in hostile states, it said. […]

And the Human Rights Campaign just last month issued an updated travel notice for Florida, outlining potential impacts of six bills recently passed there, many already signed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican contender for president who’s championed “don’t say gay” and pronoun bills.

* Moving along to Oklahoma

A state school board in Oklahoma voted Monday to approve what would be the first publicly funded religious school in the nation, despite a warning from the state’s attorney general that the decision was unconstitutional.

The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 to approve the application by the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma to establish the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School. The online public charter school would be open to students across the state in kindergarten through grade 12.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond had warned the board that such a decision clearly violated the Oklahoma Constitution.

“The approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers,” Drummond said in a statement shortly after the board’s vote. “It’s extremely disappointing that board members violated their oath in order to fund religious schools with our tax dollars. In doing so, these members have exposed themselves and the state to potential legal action that could be costly.”

* Utah

On Friday, a person filed a complaint with the Davis School District, just north of Salt Lake City, asking that the Book of Mormon, a religious text for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, be removed from its libraries. Utah is home to the world headquarters of the church and has the nation’s highest concentration of members of that faith.

That request echoed one in December challenging the King James Version of the Bible, which is held sacred by members of the church and Christians generally. Both complaints followed the passage of state legislation prohibiting “pornographic or indecent” materials in public school settings. The measure, titled Sensitive Materials in Schools, was signed into law in March 2022. […]

Last month, a Davis district committee decided that the Bible should remain available in high school libraries, but not for younger grades. (Someone has since filed an appeal to keep it in circulation for all students.) Christopher Williams, a spokesman for the Davis School District, did not share details about the newer complaint against the Book of Mormon but said the district would “treat this request just like any other request.” […]

And increasingly, challenges are being filed against multiple books at once, whereas in the past, libraries more frequently received complaints about a single title, the American Library Association found. That suggested that political campaigning was behind the trend, said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The complaints about religious texts in Utah, she said, were “certainly a kind of advocacy that might encourage both school boards and state legislators to think more carefully about what they’re doing.”

* Arksanas

A group of public libraries and book publishers in Arkansas is pushing back against a growing movement to restrict what children are allowed to read.

Arkansas is one of four states that recently passed laws that make it easier to prosecute librarians over sexually explicit books, a designation conservatives often use to target books with descriptions of gender identity and sexuality. On Friday, a coalition led by the Central Arkansas Library System, based in Little Rock, filed a federal lawsuit it hopes will set a precedent about the constitutionality of such laws.

The Central Arkansas Library System argued in a filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas that Act 372 violates the First Amendment by making it a misdemeanor for libraries to give children access to materials that are “harmful to minors.” The term — which means any depiction of nudity or sexual conduct meant to appeal to a prurient interest that lacks serious artistic, medical or political value and which contemporary community standards would find inappropriate for minors — is too broad, the suit contends. For example, the law would prohibit 17-year-olds from viewing materials deemed too explicit for 7-year-olds.

“There’s enormous angst and anxiety on the part of librarians in the state,” said Nate Coulter, the executive director of the Central Arkansas Library System, which has 17 branches in seven cities. “Because not only do they feel like people in the state government don’t respect their integrity, but they’re seen as a hostile party. They’ve been called groomers. They’ve been accused of being pedophiles. They’re basically targeted by a very divisive, angry group of people who are vocal about believing that somehow the library is the problem in our community.”

* More from Oklahoma via the NYT

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday that two laws passed last year that ban most abortions are unconstitutional.

But the ruling does not affect a law passed in 1910 which still prohibits most abortions in the state, unless they are necessary to save the life of the mother.

The laws that were struck down by the court were civil laws that had relied on suits from private citizens to enforce them. Both had made exceptions for cases involving a “medical emergency.”

But the justices took issue with that language in their 6-3 ruling, which suggested that the exceptions were too narrow. They maintained that a woman has a constitutional right to end a pregnancy in order to save her life, without specifying the need for a medical emergency.

* Missouri and Kansas

Mylissa Farmer knew her fetus was dying inside of her. Her water broke less than 18 weeks into her pregnancy last August, and she was desperate for an abortion.

But according to federal documents, during three emergency room visits over two days in Missouri and Kansas, doctors repeatedly gave Farmer the same chilling message: Though there was virtually no chance her fetus would survive and the pregnancy was putting her at high risk for life-threatening complications, there was nothing they could do for her. […]

The investigation, conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, documented that both Freeman Health System in Joplin, Missouri and the University of Kansas Health System breached their internal policies for complying with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, and that their protocols continue to place patients in “immediate jeopardy” of serious health risks, the highest level of violation.

Investigators concluded that future patients in similar situations could face “serious injury, harm, impairment or death.” The hospitals will remain under investigation while they come up with plans to ensure that patients in need of emergency abortion care are not turned away, federal officials said.

* Florida

A national physician-led health care advocacy group is advising travelers to Florida who can become pregnant to think twice about visiting the state because of its restrictive six-week abortion ban, recently signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Committee to Protect Health Care has paid for a billboard located outside of the Orlando International Airport that reads: “Turn around! Ron DeSantis is attacking your reproductive rights. Head to Michigan for patient-doctor medical decisions.” The blunt message from Dr. Timothy Johnson, an OB-GYN based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, directs people arriving at the airport to, a site sponsored by the group.

* South Carolina…

* Indiana

A northern Indiana abortion clinic will close nearly a year after the state approved a ban on the practice, with “unnecessary” and “politically driven” restrictions on abortions forcing its closure, according to a Monday announcement.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said in the statement that staff have seen over 1,100 women for medication abortions “in our small but mighty South Bend clinic” since it opened seven years ago.

Staff at Whole Woman’s Health Alliance — which has clinics in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico and Virginia — will still provide remote services, such as referring patients to other abortion clinics in Indiana or states where abortion is legal. Patients have not been able to physically visit the Indiana clinic since December 2022.

“While we will no longer provide abortions at our South Bend clinic location, our resolve to help Hoosiers is as strong as ever,” Hagstrom Miller said.

* Louisiana

A series of bills in Louisiana that opponents fear will negatively impact LGBTQ+ youths neared final passage Monday, advancing in the waning days of the state’s legislative session.

Although similar bills have failed in the past, it seems the fate of Louisiana’s package of LGBTQ+-related bills is all but sealed as they appeared likely to reach Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk for his consideration.

The legislation comes amid a year in which Republican-dominate legislatures around that country have passed similar bills taking aim at various aspects of transgender existence — from pronoun usage and bathroom access to medical care and more.

All of the Louisiana bills received approval mainly along party lines in both the House and Senate. They now must go back to their original chambers — where they have already overwhelmingly passed — for lawmakers to approve of the mostly minor amendments. After concurring on the amendments, the legislation will be sent to Edwards.

* Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Friday a bill that bars transgender kids from getting puberty blockers and hormone therapies, though the new law could face legal challenges before it takes effect on Sept. 1.

Senate Bill 14’s passage brings to the finish line a legislative priority for the Republican Party of Texas, which opposes any efforts to validate transgender identities. Trans kids, their parents and LGBTQ advocacy groups fiercely oppose the law, and some have vowed to stop it from going into effect.

Texas — home to one of the largest trans communities in the U.S. — is now one of 18 states that restrict transition-related care for trans minors.

“Cruelty has always been the point,” said Emmett Schelling, executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas. “It’s not shocking that this governor would sign SB14 right at the beginning of Pride [Month]; however this will not stop trans people from continuing to exist with authenticity — as we always have.”


  1. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 2:14 pm:

    can we ban PGA/LIV events in the state? cause their concern about the fights is ridiculous compared to the sportswashing that is now even greater. and it’s not who we are.

  2. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 2:23 pm:

    I’ve been expecting there to be complaints about the Bible to school districts and libraries in states that have passed laws against “sexual explicit content.”

  3. - Jerry - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 2:33 pm:

    All of these Big Government, Nanny State, Socialist Republicans forcing the wrath of Government on its citizens. Not very woke.

  4. - Former Downstater - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 2:34 pm:

    There are many states my husband and I will not visit because we don’t feel safe and protected in them. Unfortunately, as HRC points out, that list is growing longer and more threatening in their antagonism toward us as people.

  5. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    === “Cruelty has always been the point,” ===

    I have to respectfully disagree. The point is to focus hate and sanctions on those who have lifestyles they don’t like. Cruelty is a sadistic benefit to these bigots.

  6. - 40,000 ft - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    Is it reasonable and “allowable” for a person to be pro-lgb (or indifferent), but anti-t+ ?

    I’d like to participate in a rational discussion about this…

  7. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:06 pm:

    === Is it reasonable and “allowable” for a person to be pro-lgb (or indifferent), but anti-t+ ? ===

    No. Bigotry can’t be excused because you pick and chose who you want to discriminate against.

  8. - Former Downstater - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:07 pm:

    I’d say being anti- a person isn’t a good place to start.

  9. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    “The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 to approve the application by the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma to establish the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School. ”

    So, now Pentecostals or Baptists or Judaists Buddhists or Islamics or Hindus or Satanists can get government funding for their schools in Oklahoma.
    Board can’t turn them down.
    If they give for one religion they have to give for all of them or that’s discrimination.
    The three on the board that voted for it have no idea what their vote really means.

    BTW the Attorney General there is correct.

  10. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:17 pm:

    === can we ban PGA/LIV events in the state? ===

    Can you explain? All I heard is that the PGA, LIV and World Tour are combining.

  11. - 40,000 ft - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    There seems to be a paradox developing.

    To be anti-anything is the right of any American, so isn’t it anti-American to play an authoritarian card declaring that a person can’t be against the t+ fad?

    So many “anti” contradictions.

    We haven’t even started an intelligent discussion about the difference between lgb and t+.

  12. - Former Downstater - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    “fad?” Your ignorance is blaring loudly.

  13. - Tim - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 4:08 pm:

    === We haven’t even started an intelligent discussion ===

    Your reference to a “fad” is demonstrating that such a discussion with you is unlikely.

  14. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 4:15 pm:

    === To be anti-anything is the right of any American, so isn’t it anti-American to play an authoritarian card declaring that a person can’t be against the t+ fad? ===

    Always love the projection from the bigots. I missed the right to be anti-anything in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Emancipation Proclamation. Now the Constitution does protect your right to express anti-anything views, but it also protects my right to explain that anti a group of people because of their color, religion or sex or sexual identity is bigotry.

  15. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==Pentecostals or Baptists or Judaists Buddhists or Islamics==

    The irony is this is the same state that was concerned with ‘creeping Sharia law’ in 2010.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 4:34 pm:

    The empowering and emboldening hate as a political crutch and saying it’s to “praise god” is the GOP

    It’s horrific given this country was suppose to welcome all.

  17. - 40,000 ft - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 4:58 pm:

    I do purpose that t+ is a fad only found in countries that have media, govt, medical promoting it.

    It does not happen in nature in any species, flora or fauna.
    If it does, it would be interesting to learn about that.

    The belief that t+ is a fad, and to not agree with its premises, doesn’t mean hate is involved. Please.

  18. - Steve - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 5:03 pm:

    The Oklahoma charter school story is significant. The Catholic Church was never strong down there. But, they are a very conservative state and Catholic schools have a great reputation for producing great academic outcomes . It probably wouldn’t happen in Illinois because Illinois isn’t a place looking for large scale school reform.

  19. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 5:03 pm:

    It’s hard not to be dumbfounded by states that want to restore prayer in school but want to ban the Bible.

  20. - City Guy - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 5:29 pm:

    In regards to the idea that “trans gender” does not take place in other species, here is a link to an article that shows it does

    In regards to the idea that it only exists where it is discussed in media etc. is not accurate. It may exist in a different form but it has existed since ancient times. Look up “transgender history” in Wikipedia for in-depth discussion.

    I personally don’t mind comments like 40,000 feet if sincerely interested in learning and not hating. My concern is that people are interfering with people’s medical care based on propaganda not facts.

  21. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 5:40 pm:

    === if sincerely interested in learning and not hating ===

    Where is there any evidence of intellectual curiosity about the subject in any of the comments made by the bigot? His judgement about trans people is clear and is parroting the far right wing rhetoric. Next thing we’ll hear from him is the old line, “some of my friends are trans.”

  22. - James the Intolerant - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 6:01 pm:

    Hannibal, PGA chose to partner with funders of 911.
    Hard to spin but they will

  23. - 40,000 ft - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 6:42 pm:

    Norseman, you got my pronouns wrong. Lol
    I won’t hold it against you.

    The irony is fun to me.

  24. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 6:52 pm:

    ==I do purpose that t+ is a fad only found in countries that have media, govt, medical promoting it.==
    You can propose what you want, doesn’t make it correct. I suggest you look at the role of the Two-Spirt Person among the Lakota and of the Hijras in the Indian sub-continent.

  25. - joe - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 6:56 pm:

    40,000 ft, Don’t get them started about trans women competing against biological women in sports.

  26. - Proud Papa Bear - Tuesday, Jun 6, 23 @ 7:33 pm:

    =you got my pronouns wrong=
    According to GOP ideology, you have no right to your gender identity so Norseman is entitled to assign a gender to you.

  27. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    Words from a conservative MAGA GOPer:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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