An Arkansas lawmaker's legislation prohibiting all anti-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people is about to become law.
Freshman Republican State Senator Bart Hester is so equality-minded he wants the same rights for everyone. "God loves each and everyone of us, equally," he told anti-gay activists at the Rally for True Marriage last November.
Hester's quest for his own special brand of equality prompted him to introduce his emergency bill, SB 202, to strip all non-discrimination ordinances forever from the state of Arkansas. Hester thinks that the LGBT community has too many rights and protections, and says it's unfair that they have more than he does.
The 37-year old Senator, real estate businessman, and deacon at his Southern Baptist church, understands that LGBT people face discrimination, but they need to understand that so does he.
"I am singled out as a politician. I am singled out because I am married to one woman," Hester told Buzzfeed. "I want everyone in the LGBT community to have the same rights I do. I do not want them to have special rights that I do not have."
Hester says that in order to attract business to Arkansas, all the laws across the state must be uniform, and pesky anti-discrimination ordinances just make things messy. So messy in fact that it's "infuriating" to him.
"There are many things necessary for stability â€” and civil rights need to not be a volatile situation," Hester says. "It's got to be something we agree on for the entire state."
Buzzfeed reports that if Hester's bill passes, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson will sign it. Fortunately for Hester, "there is no doubt it is going to pass," he says.
The ACLU of Arkansas' legal director, Holly Dickson, agrees. "It is likely to pass, and it is likely to be signed by the governor," she says.
Hester, smartly, is calling his legislation the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, because that sounds so much better than, say, the Anti-LGBT Pro-Discrimination Act.
It actually declares "an emergency" because "there are seventy-five (75) counties and five hundred (500) cities and towns in the state," and "each county, city, and town can create its own local system for dealing with discrimination," so his legislation, he says, is "immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety."
Unsurprisingly, this isn't Hester's first attack on the LGBT community.
Here he is, speaking at Josh Duggar's Rally for True Marriage, sponsored by the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, where he told the crowd, "Evil does not become good, wrong does not become right, and lies do not become truth, just because a few accept it. And we all know what truth is."
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