Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lt. Governor Northam: Anti-LGBT bill Threatens Virginia’s Economy

Ralph Northam speaking at a friend's home

As North Carolina Republicans are hopefully learning, hate and bigotry are not good for a state's economy.  In an op-ed the Virginian Pilot, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam makes that very argument and states that Virginia GOP/Christofascist efforts to enact similar animus based bills in Virginia threatens the states economy.  In my view, the Christofascists and their political whores in the Republican Party at all levels need to be defeated and their beliefs need to be thrown on the trash heap of history where they can join beliefs that supported slavery, segregation and so many other horrors brought to mankind by religion.  Here are op-ed highlights:
A governor’s priorities and values make an enormous difference in the direction of a state. Recent events have shown us that having the right governor can make all the difference.
Last month, Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed Senate Bill 41. The bill would discriminate against thousands of Virginians and send the absolute wrong message to current and prospective employers who want their employees and their families to live in a welcoming and inclusive commonwealth.
North Carolina’s Republican governor recently signed that state’s House Bill 2, one of the most anti-LGBT laws in the country, and an upsetting response to a non-discrimination law passed in the city of Charlotte.
The negative response has been overwhelming, with more than 90 major employers calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to repeal the bill.
The response has already caused McCrory to backpedal, signing an executive order to prevent state employees from being fired for being gay or transgender. His action, however, stops far short of correcting the ills of HB2.
I cannot imagine why any member of the LGBT community would want to visit a state with such backwards legislation.
Why does this matter in Virginia? As a member of McAuliffe’s Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Tourism Corporation, I work hard to make sure that Virginia is business-friendly and welcoming to all. The passage of SB41 through our General Assembly sends a signal to major companies, CEOs, and talented workers that Virginia could be the next North Carolina if we’re not careful.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said “As a global hospitality leader and multistate employer, these legislative skirmishes can be frustrating and costly. We still see a patchwork of gaps in state and local nondiscrimination laws that add complications and uncertainty for our people and local managers. It dismays many of us that, in 29 states, people are still at risk of losing their job just for being gay or transgender. Predictability in nondiscrimination laws would be welcome.”
Businesses should be interested in serving the most customers the best product possible, not figuring out the gender or relationship status of people who walk in the door. When Virginia offers a pro-business, all-are-welcome environment, we are better able to compete with other states.
Especially in light of federal budget cuts and sequestration, we have to continue to be innovative and forward thinking to grow our economy. This type of legislation hurts our efforts to attract new businesses and increase jobs, and that is why inclusion will continue to be one of my top priorities.
That means recruiting new businesses and supporting current businesses in order to bring good-paying jobs and top talent. That means providing basic services that every citizen needs in order to contribute to our common good. And that means ensuring that every Virginian has a fair shot to reach their full potential.
I will fight to keep Virginia focused on these priorities. I urge the General Assembly to sustain the governor’s veto of SB41 so that companies, families and the entire country knows that Virginia is open for business and welcoming to all.
In my view, conservative Christianity is a virulent cancer on society that needs to be eradicated,  If one over the course of history, I believe Christianity - especially conservative strains - have brought more harm than benefit to the world.  Now, conservative Christianity is a main force seeking to drag America backward in time and to grant unconstitutional special privileges to those motivated by hate and bigotry and who embrace ignorance and superstition rather than knowledge and science. 

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