Fear-Mongering in Plano

by Dan Quinn

Religious-right activists have adopted a consistent strategy in trying to stop or repeal city ordinances barring discrimination against LGBT people: use faith to divide and cultivate fear, hate and contempt. The latest example is in Plano, where in December the City Council passed an ordinance barring discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations.

In their campaign to repeal that Plano ordinance, religious-right activists are repeating the same arguments — and lies — we’ve heard elsewhere, especially in Houston and San Antonio. One of the biggest lies is posted on the Facebook page of a religious-right group in Plano. We’re not going to link to that page and send extra traffic their way, but here’s the post:

Do you believe that men who are born as men … are men? Or that women are women, not whatever they define themselves to be? If so, you are now a criminal in the city of Plano. Yes, a criminal. Plano recently passed a so-called “Equal Rights Ordinance.” Yet it could be better named, “Criminalization of Honest Citizens Ordinance,” because criminalization of honest, everyday citizens is exactly what it does.

No, it doesn’t. The Plano ordinance does not criminalize anyone’s beliefs. It prohibits discrimination simply because someone is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

But the Facebook page does more than just lie about what the ordinance does. It also suggests — as religious-right activist have done in Houston and San Antonio — that barring discrimination against LGBT people will endanger children and women:

Don’t Let Our Daughters Pay the Price! … Repeal the Amendment that allows males who perceive themselves to be female (and vice versa) to go into women’s’ restrooms & locker rooms in businesses with more than 15 employees.

This fear-mongering even goes so far as claiming that Christians are being persecuted if they’re not allowed to fire, evict or refuse service to someone who is LGBT:

Have any Plano friends that think this won’t affect them? Think again.
– YES, despite the propaganda from the other side, it will allow “trans” MEN to go into the same bathroom as little girls in PRIVATE business bathrooms. Our children are at risk here.
– YES, will discriminate against overtly Christian businesses!
– YES, will discriminate against any Plano business that has Christian principles!
– YES, will discriminate against ANY business doing business with the city of Plano, regardless of location.
– YES, will discriminate against any non profit OR CHURCH that receives any money from Plano.
– YES, will affect ALL city owned places, properties, events…any event connected to the city.

Of course, many Christians and other people of faith support Plano’s nondiscrimination ordinance. They believe their faith calls them to support equality and respect for all of their neighbors, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But once again we see religious-right activists using faith as a weapon to divide and harm others.

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