Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fired for wearing pants

I'm back from Texas. Mom has deteriorated since I saw her almost six months ago, as expected. I saw what a toll this is taking on my sister-in-law, the primary caregiver, even with help coming to the house five days a week. A care facility for Mom is likely.

Ten minutes before I needed to get in the car and drive to the airport last Thursday I was eating a seedless orange and cracked a tooth. Fortunately, it didn't hurt and I was able to get through my stay in Texas without an emergency trip to the dentist. I'll see my own tomorrow morning. I'm pretty sure the tooth that cracked is a molar with a huge filling from decades ago and there just isn't enough tooth left. By the time this is handled I'm sure I'll have another crown.

Another problem I encountered last Thursday is a leak in my water heater. It isn't severe – I still have hot water. But there is a small trickle of water between the heater and the floor drain. Time for another. This one lasted almost 19 years.

On to recent news.

Last week I reported on the backlash against marriage equality that has resulted in many license to discriminate laws. I mentioned the one just passed in Mississippi is likely the worst of the bunch. Now I have details.

What makes it bad is it doesn't try to be nice, cloaking its bigotry in glowing terms of religious freedom. It comes right out and says it. A sincerely held religious belief may include man-woman marriages only, sex after marriage, and gender is immutable. In addition the permitted ways of discrimination are listed: decline to perform any services related to a wedding, fire or refuse to hire anyone who violates the organization's religious beliefs, decline to help gay couples adopt, establish sex-specific standards for dress and grooming, and state employees can express beliefs without consequences.

Yes, the law is so broad a woman can be fired for wearing pants.

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed the bill into law.

So far the GOP in the Senate is holding firm on refusing to consider Merrick Garland for the Supremes. As I've mentioned before, conservative groups, especially the Judicial Crisis Network, are spending heavily in this fight and are ready to pounce on any senator who breaks rank. Cross them and they will heavily fund a primary challenger.

Of course, the Judicial Crisis Network isn't stopping with the Supremes. They intend to control the state judiciaries, wherever possible. For example, in Kansas the State Supremes blocked an anti-abortion law. The legislature threatened to suspend funding for the courts and the GOP controlled Senate passed a bill allowing impeachment of justices.

Speaking of Merrick Garland... Lambda Legal, an LGBT organization that provides lawyers to get LGBT cases through the courts, has researched all of Garland's rulings. They find he doesn't have enough of a record to determine if he has any LGBT bias. Therefore Lambda Legal is adding its voice to pressure the Senate to do its job to actually confirm or reject Garland.

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