Late Thursday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was FIRST! to call a press conference so he could sign the “fixed” Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, following a weeklong national outcry. Before any journalist could even open a new browser tab to type words about it, there went Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, doing the same damn thing. Did the governors time it that way, so the media wouldn’t know what to cover? Maybe! Or maybe it just happened that way because everybody was ready to go the fuck home for the long holiday weekend. Proponents claimed the original laws did nothing more than protect religious freedom from some unspecified threat, but in reality, the bills were thinly veiled licenses to hate on and discriminate against gays and lesbians, so they had to be amended to ensure that no, this does not give you permission to refuse to do flowers for Dale and Kevin’s wedding, and no, also, please do not take your businesses out of our states!
The Indiana “fix” very specifically states that the RFRA does not “authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment or housing” based on sexual orientation or gender identity, whereas Arkansas’s changes more broadly state that the law is to be interpreted as a mirror of the federal RFRA, signed by gay-loving Democrat President Bill Clinton. The federal RFRA “does not affix personhood status to corporations, organizations, or businesses, and does not directly support anti-LGBT discrimination,” but if wingnuts are willing to apply themselves, they might be able to find ways for it to indirectly support it!
Hutchinson, who somehow emerged from this week as less of a douchebag than Pence, acknowledged in his press conference that ain’t nobody happy with the result, saying that “the fact that it might not solve every problem for everyone probably means it’s a good bill.” What that means, we do not know. But we do know that the wingnuts are pissed! Spinning our Twitter Wheel Of Bigots at random, we find the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, in full meltdown mode:
Is that like a demolition derby? Sounds serious! Spinning the wheel one more time, we have landed on whining Fox News moron Todd Starnes, who seems very upset:
In case you do not get it, that is a timely reference to Judas, who reportedly betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. In this analogy, Jesus is apparently a person holding a “God Hates Fags” sign, and Judas is, of course, the governor of Indiana. They are not acting quite so hysterical toward the governor of Arkansas, we guess because Hutchinson got shit done much quicker and quieter-like. Also, Hutchinson just did what Walmart told him to do, who can complain?
Some LGBT advocates and allies are not happy with the fixes either, as they hoped this controversy would be an opportunity to advance civil rights protections for gays and lesbians. They sought to repeal the bills entirely and specifically write into law that gays and lesbians are entitled to protection from discrimination. Nice sounding as that is, it was not going to happen, at least not this week.
But they still won the week, along with their new best friends in big business. The newly amended RFRAs address exactly none of the religious right’s desires to preserve their fag-hatin’ rights, and gays and lesbians in Indiana and Arkansas are in no more danger than they were before all of this happened.
Now, with all of this over, at least for now, journalists around America reportedly are relieved and hoping that they never fucking have to type “RFRA” into their computers again.