Hot Springs chamber opposes bathroom bill | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hot Springs chamber opposes bathroom bill

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 9:44 AM

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Add a Hot Springs business group to the list opposing proposed legislation to require that public restrooms be used by people with matching birth gender (the final legislation isn't on file; who knows what it will require for those with indeterminate gender at birth.) It's cold comfort given the multiple ways in which the legislature, governor, attorney general and others defend legal discrimination against LGBT people in Arkansas. Nonetheless:

The Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to encourage Arkansas Legislature and Garland County delegation to oppose Senate Bill 346, also known has the “Bathroom Bill.”

“This unnecessary bill is a solution looking for a problem,” said Jim Fram, President and CEO of The Greater Hot Springs Chamber Of Commerce. “The fact that the bill is even being considered is detrimental to tourism, conventions, conferences, and overall economic development in our area.”

The Board of Directors agrees with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson that this proposed legislation is unnecessary and could cause vast amounts of economic demise affecting all areas of the state.

“We strongly urge quick dismissal of this unnecessary legislation,” said Latt Bachelor, The Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman. 
This is a good time to note that 2015 legislation that gave people a nominal religious excuse to discriminate against gay people and the legislation that aims to prevent local civil rights protection (held superior over local ordinances yesterday by the Arkansas Supreme Court) were also unnecessary and should cause "economic demise" when the NCAA, NBA and high-tech firms learn that we are every bit as discriminatory as North Carolina. It was precisely legislation to prevent Charlotte from protecting its gay citizens that landed North Carolina on the s*** list of corporate America.

Hell, the attorney general of the state, Leslie Rutledge, personally waged war on civil rights for gay people at the Arkansas Supreme Court and is proud of her victory. The governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, who wants us to be a model of technological advancement, did nothing to stop official discrimination against gay people in Arkansas in 2015. Nor did he join the business groups and ACLU who intervened to try to protect the Fayetteville civil rights ordinance.

The Arkansas Supreme Court as now constituted is an arm of the right wing of the Republican Party and isn't likely to favor the constitutional argument yet to come on the state statute that was specifically designed to protect discrimination against gay people in employment, housing and public accommodation. Federal court precedent remains on the side of justice. At least for now.

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