Many of the anti-trans bathroom bills popping up in states across the country come from the same anti-LGBTQ hate group.
North Carolina made headlines by passing HB2, an infamous “bathroom bill” that bans trans people from using the restrooms that suit their gender identities. What followed was a massive public outcry and a boycott of the state that cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business. State legislators eventually overturned the law, but in a way that doesn’t really make things better for trans people.
But despite the immense backlash North Carolina got from the bill, other states have decided to follow suit and promote similar legislation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have considered bathroom bills, with varying success.
Where Do They All Come From?
The language used in many of these bills is strikingly similar, using identical (or near-identical) turns of phrase. It’s almost as if they’re all just churned out on an assembly line.
Well, it turns out they are. According to a report by NBC, the bathroom bills in seven different states are all based on a model draft created by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group that the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group. The ADF’s model bathroom bill is called the Student Physical Privacy Act.
The Student Physical Privacy Act is written like a sort of mad libs game, only it’s intended for bigotry instead of zany wordplay. All a queerphobic legislator has to do is take the draft and fill in the blanks, literally. Here’s are a few passages from it:
Section 1. Name. This provision shall be known and may be cited as the [NAME OF STATE] Student Physical Privacy Act.
Section 4. Definitions. B. “Public school” means a school subject to [INSERT RELEVANT CODE PROVISION AUTHORIZING THE CREATION AND SUPERVISION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS]. Public schools do not include any schools not subject to [THAT PROVISION], including private schools, religious schools, and home-educating families.
Many state legislators are using the ADF’s model, and they’re not even trying to hide it. NBC News writes:
Minnesota’s 2017 Student Physical Privacy Act is a word-for-word copy of the ADF legislation. A 2016 Kansas bill to create a student privacy act was an ADF twin as well… NBC News examined a handful of similar bills in Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Nevada that all appeared to be influenced by the model legislation. Dozens of such bills were proposed in early 2017.
Other Mad Libs Laws
The ADF isn’t the only organization writing laws for politicians. A few years ago, John Oliver did a segment on an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which drafts bills for state representatives to introduce in their respective Houses.
Like ADF, ALEC is highly conservative, though ALEC caters to corporate interests while ADF focuses on limiting the freedoms of LGBTQ people.
It’s bad enough for our legislators to be hateful. Do they have to be so lazy about it, too?
(Header image via Pixabay)
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