How Many LGBT Legal Protections Did Colbert's Joke Remove?

How Many LGBT Legal Protections Did Colbert's Joke Remove?

So this will probably happen tomorrow:

President Donald Trump has invited conservative leaders to the White House on Thursday for what they expect will be the ceremonial signing of a long-awaited—and highly controversial—executive order on religious liberty....

The original draft order, which would have established broad exemptions for people and groups to claim religious objections under virtually any circumstance, was leaked to The Nation on Feb. 1....

The new draft is being tightly held, but one influential conservative who saw the text said it hasn’t been dialed back much—if at all—since the February leak. “The language is very, very strong,” [a] source said.

In other words, it might be this bad:

The four-page draft order ... construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.” ...

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act....

Language in the draft document specifically protects the tax-exempt status of any organization that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”

It will be praised by conservatives in the media -- the same conservatives who are now self-righteously denouncing Stephen Colbert for a joke he told on CBS Monday night:


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The joke was bad -- I have no problem with sexual wit if it's actually witty, but this was a middle-school sex insult, the kind of joke that's always lowered the discourse level in material by Jon Stewart and his protégés. It was certainly homophobic.

But it didn't take legal protections away from LGBT people. The Trump executive order will. And yet the audience that uncritically swallows right-wing propaganda -- which is at least a third of the country -- will come away from this week concluding that Colbert is a homophobic bigot and Trump is a man with love and goodwill in his heart.

The right works hard at this sort of thing. The 2016 campaign showed just how much racial and ethnic bigotry Republicans can get away with and still be elected, but rightists have persuaded themselves that they're in the vanguard of racial enlightenment -- Democrats favored slavery and the Klan in the old days, so Republicans get a free racial pass for all eternity! Also, Planned Parenthood racial genocide! And welfare is the "liberal plantation"! And Martin Luther King was a Republican! (He wasn't.)

On LGBT issues, they have ... um, Milo. But also they can get huffy when ISIS members toss gay people off buildings (as if we're in favor of that). They worked the Orlando massacre hard, as if the failure of President Obama to stop the killer at the border (he was born in the U.S.) means Democrats hate gay people.

Oh, and: Ivanka and Jared are pro-LGBT! So stop picking on Trump!

Yes, remember when they prevented Trump from signing that LGBT executive order in February? When Trump signs it tomorrow, in modified or unmodified form, you can read a New York Post column from February titled "Sorry: The Gay Rage at Trump Is Just Ridiculous" and weep. Bonus: It's illustrated with a photo of Trump holding up a rainbow flag bearing the slogan "LGBTs for TRUMP ."

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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