Thursday, June 09, 2016

Randy Forbes Defends Right to Discriminate Against Gays

As I have noted in previous posts, Randy Forbes - my one time law school classmate - has turned into a raging homophobe over the years and increasingly supports special rights for those I describe as Christofascists - folks who comprise a Christian Taliban that seeks to impose its views on all just as its Islamic namesake in Afghanistan and other parts of the middle East.  But you don't have to take my words for Forbes' support of exceptions to non-discrimination laws that place the self-anointed "godly folk" above the law.  As Huffington Post reported, Forbes co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that argued through code words that business owners should be free to refuse to serve LGBT individuals - and by implication, others as  well - based on their "religious faith." Indeed, in Forbes' mind, not allowing godly Christians to discriminate against and abuse others constitutes discrimination against these bigots themselves.  Here are excerpts from Huffington Post's take down of this batshitery:
Chipotle’s right to purchase humanely raised pork is based on the same freedom that would allow a business to discriminate against LGBT individuals, according to a new op-ed from two GOP lawmakers. But much like a messy burrito from the restaurant chain itself, their argument quickly falls apart.
Chipotle recently announced it was taking pork off the menu at many of its restaurants because a major supplier was violating animal welfare standards.
In a new op-ed in the Washington Examiner Wednesday, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) say business owners similarly should be allowed to make decisions based on their religious beliefs.
The lawmakers don’t name specific issues like LGBT rights in their op-ed, but opponents of same-sex marriage increasingly have been using religious freedom arguments to discriminate in hiring and service — and as a member of the House of Representatives, Lankford himself opposed employment anti-discrimination legislation for LGBT individuals, claiming that being gay is a choice.
Chipotle scoffed at the suggestion its business decisions were similar to religious beliefs that could lead to discrimination.
“It’s a pretty ridiculous comparison,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told The Huffington Post. “Our decision not to serve pork that doesn’t meet our standards isn’t discriminating against any customers or group of customers.”
“Using Chipotle’s business decision to not stock carnitas as a defense to give corporations having religious beliefs special legal protections is ludicrous,” said David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign. “It adds nothing and indeed trivializes a very serious debate about whether corporations should be able to refuse to hire some employees and turn away some customers based on who they are or who they love.”
Both Forbes and Lankford have made national news before over controversial comments on LGBT issues. . . . In 2013, Forbes privately lobbied the National Republican Congressional Committee not to back gay candidates.
Forbes did not return a request for comment.

In a rapidly changing world, Hampton Roads needs to modernize and prepare for a future where equality and equal rights will attract talent and innovative entrepreneurs.  Yet Forbes wants to take the region - and the country - backward in time.  Moreover, he has opened the region up to national ridicule.  It is long past time that Forbes be sent into political retirement.

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