Monday, March 30, 2015

My Thoughts on Indiana's RFRA

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions below are mine entirely.  They do not reflect anyone other than myself, including the company I keep and the company I work for.

While I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I'm not trying to force mine onto you, this is my blog.  So if you don't agree with me, feel free to stop reading now.  Hopefully some of this will help to educate you as well, since most of us hear a blurb from the media and make assumptions.

Indiana has been on the news a lot lately because of a bill signed by Gov. Mike Pence that would allow for businesses to refuse service for religious reasons. While the bill is not clear and local government officials are working diligently to "clear up" some of that confusion, the point of the bill itself not only sickens me, but I'm embarrassed to call this state my home.  Indiana:  home of the famous Hoosier Hospitality and a place to openly be a bigot.

What I don't understand is how in the year 2015- we are still creating laws and signing bills that justify discriminating against anyone, as an individual or as a group of people.  While there are many facets of this bill, the focus in the media has been the rights of the LGBT community and how those rights will be greatly affected. It could mean not serving you in a restaurant, a bakery not making you a cake, a grocer not selling you food, a clothing store not letting you buy clothes, a guidance counselor not giving a teenager in need counseling.  All because of your sexual orientation.

One of my best friends, who is beyond hilarious, is a college graduate, is a successful news reporter, loves animals and reptiles, would do anything for you without you asking and has thousands of other great qualities as a human being- also happens to be gay.  It breaks my heart to think that this bullshit bill may stop him from enjoying a burger at a local pub with me BECAUSE HE IS GAY.  How God Damn Ridiculous is that?  How unacceptable is that?  What about my family members who are gay?  What about my many other friends who are gay?  What about YOUR family members and friends who are gay?  I hope that angers you as much as it does me.

My opinion is that everyone should be treated equally.  It doesn't matter your race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.  That notion shouldn't be politically charged.  Maybe I don't understand because I'm not a practicing Christian or Catholic.  But I can tell you right now, that even if I was, I still would disagree with this bill.   Do you remember the phrase: Treat others as you would want to be treated?  What about the Golden Rule-  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  If I remember correctly, this is a biblical quote- Matthew 7:42.  How contradictory.

Hate on people because they are assholes.  Not because they are gay.

Indiana is one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Not only are there 20 states, but did you realize that the federal government itself has something similar to what was just passed in Indiana?  While it seems, based on the media coverage, that Indiana is the only state with a bill like this, I assure you, it is not.

Other states with Religious Freedom Restoration Acts:
Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia

In 1993, President Clinton signed a federal RFRA, prohibiting the government from "substantially burdening" individuals' exercise of religion unless it is for a "compelling government interest" and is doing so in the least restrictive means.  How you liking him now?  "He's the greatest President of our Generation."  Was he, now that you know that fun fact?

Currently there are also an additional 13 states, including Georgia, that are considering their own RFRA legislation.  If they all pass, that will be 33 out of 50 states.  Think of that, my friends.

The Indiana religious freedom law says the government cannot intrude on a person's religious liberty unless it can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden and do so in the least restrictive way.    To some this bill is legalizing discrimination, to others it is protecting their religious rights.

In Indianapolis and a dozen other cities in Indiana, there are local nondiscrimination laws that specifically protect LGBT in employment, housing, education and public accommodation, which include business transactions.  But in much of Indiana there is no such protection.  I think one of the MANY concerns with this bill is that it would allow people to start challenging the local laws.  The situation here- which has no statewide law protecting gays and lesbians, but has local laws that do- which one trumps the other, the local laws protecting LGBT rights or the statewide RFRA?

I know some of you have seen me share news articles of conventions or companies pulling out of Indiana and some of you have posted similar.  I am in complete agreement with them- hit this state in the pocket and see how quickly this bill goes away.  Indianapolis is one of the biggest (if not the biggest- depending on the year) convention cities in the country.  We are home to many national and professional sporting teams and organizations.  What will the state do if they relocate?  What about the business leaders who are calling for boycotts?  The labor union AFSCME announced today that it is moving its 2015 Women’s Conference out of Indianapolis in October, in protest of the RFRA that could open the door to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Will this change Pence's mind on the LGBT community?  What I know is that if I see any business pulling the religion card and refusing to serve an individual who happens to be gay, they will no longer receive my business.  Again.  Ever. I would hope you all would do the same.

SNL's Weekend Update touched on this last week.  Joking about how these businesses would have to put a sign in their window to show they supported the RFRA, they showed a Going Out Of Business sign.  Fingers crossed, America.  Fingers crossed.

And if the whole discriminating again gays isn't enough for you- here are a few more things this bill would allow:

  • Child Welfare – not having to take a background check to work in a day care.  Child molesters anyone?
  • Domestic Violence – a man justifying beating his wife and/or children because his religion teaches him it's his duty to discipline them as he sees fit.  
  • Public Safety –a police officer refusing to protect a synagogue or mosque, even while ON DUTY.  
RFRA allows individuals to ignore any law they deem to conflict with their religious beliefs.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015, bitches!

Looking back on my goals for 2014 was quite depressing to say the least.  I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have hoped.  But life apparently got in the way.  Or that's the excuse I'm telling myself.

Below are the goals.  All 14 of them.  I can't believe I actually finished some of them and didn't finish the others.  But that just leaves something for this year!  Plus a little more.

  • NO- The stairs.  I don't care who the hell tells me that I can't redo my stairs- I'm fricken doing them.  I hate the carpet and I'm obsessed with my idea.  And that obsession won't go away until I rip the carpet off and tackle 'em.  It could very well end up that I need to rig up a pulley system to get my fat ass upstairs since I won't have any stairs.  But I need to at least ATTEMPT to do my vision.  
  • NO- Build a dining room table.  Yes, I know that I already have a dining room table.  But I don't like it.  So I will build one that I do like.  
  • NO- Build outdoor furniture for the patio.  Can't wait to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer and what better than furniture that I've built to sit on?  Plus I've already purchased the cushions so I guess I need to have something to put them on.  Am I the only one who does that kind of thing?
  • NO- Paint the garage.  Enough said.  I'm over looking at drywall and mud and tape.  
  • NO- Add more shelving to the garage.  This dumping area garage needs to be organized.  
  • YES!!  OK about 99.5% done.  Rip out the wire shelves in master bedroom closet, install new wood shelves and add a dresser/storage piece.  I'm trying to be all fancy and shit.  In my closet.  I want glam and pretty and upscale.  With a Goodwill budget.  Let's see what I can do.  
  • YES YES YES!!  Rip out the wire shelves in pantry and install cabinets and wood shelves.  I need storage.  And for my cans to not fall off the shelves because they don't sit right on the wire shelves.  I'm not looking to make the Great Alfredo Jar Break of 2013 an annual event.  That shit was everywhere.  So not cool.  
  • NO- Install an RF extender in the living room to hide the cable box and dvd player.  OMG did that just sounds a little too techy for this blonde?  
  • NO- Install a gasless/ventless fireplace in master bedroom.  This will happen.  We're about to get romantical in the bedroom.  Bow chica bow wow.  Next up, satin sheets.  
  • NO- New tile in master bathroom shower and tub.  I hate the builder grade tile that is in there now.  Plus it's cracking.  And more than likely getting mold behind it.  And it's 5 feet from my bed.   Ew.  Gag.  
  • NO- Floor tile in both master bathroom and hall bathroom.  I want sexy dark espresso wood looking tile.  Roarrrrrrrrrr......
  • NO- Build fire pit in the back yard. Ummmmm may have already started on this.  Surprise!   
  • YES!! Get a load or ten of top soil for back yard, re-grade it and seed the soil.  Want.  A.  Back.  Yard.  With.  No.  Weeds.  I want to be able to play games and look at a nice pretty lawn.  
  • NOT YET- Fix the rest of the grass and re-seed.  It's a hot mess.  Between the bobcat tracks and the dead grass and the enormous mound of leftover dirt.... I'm that neighbor right now.  I need to fix it.  It's embarrassing.  Big time.  

  • So for this year- here are my hopes and dreams. 
    • Enclose the screened in porch.  I will be putting in windows and a new door.  Definitely need to make this room weather proof.  I'm over cleaning it and vacuuming up spiders and bugs.  I'm over dirty furniture and not using the room.  Plus by enclosing it, I can also use this room as storage for the outdoor furniture in the winter, rather than cluttering up the already messy garage.  This project is TOP PRIORITY for this year.  
    • Re-paint the kitchen cabinets.  As of right now the plan is to still go with aqua.  We'll see.  
    • Re-paint and do a wall treatment for the back spare room.  Building the bed was just the first step in working on this room.  I was convinced to NOT paint the furniture but the wall color needs to go and I want to do a wall feature.  
    • Finish the closet.  Oy.  Don't get me started.  
    • Remove the glass shower door in the master bathroom to go along with the new floor, tile and faucets that should have been done this year.  :)
    • Build the outdoor furniture.  I have the plans.  I just need to start working on them.  There are going to be a couple different areas of new seating and I can't wait for them to get built.  
    • Fireplace in the master bedroom.  Maybe.  Not so sure of this one anymore.  But it would be awesome.  
    • Work on the garage.  It's so bad.  I can't close my garage door quick enough when I get home.  
    I really hope that this coming year allows me to do more.  I will say that 2014 kicked my ass in more ways than I can count and I'm certainly glad that it's over.  There were times that I really didn't know if I'd make it through- especially the last few months.  But it's a new year and a new me and I can't wait to see what happens!!  

    So to all of you out there still reading this little blog of mine- I wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous year filled with love and friendship.  Now go out there and make shit count!  Muah!