It turns out there are some big ‘ole 18 wheeler truck sized loopholes having to do with “religious freedom” in Plano, Texas’ just approved LGBT Rights ordinance that everyone is crowing about that makes it almost virtually worthless. (Which is probably why it passed by such a huge margin)
According to the revised ordinance, discrimination based on a resident’s sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited in regards to public accommodation, employment, housing transactions and city contracting. However, religious and political groups as well as nonprofit organizations are exempt from the ordinance.
City Attorney Paige Mims said the ordinance also includes a waiver process for businesses to be exempt if the owners feel the policy would not allow them to conduct business based on their personal faith. Individuals and organizations found in noncompliance to the ordinance would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, the least severe class of misdemeanor. While the ordinance does make it illegal to discriminate against gender identity in a public place, Mims said that would not extend to public restrooms and locker rooms which would still be segregated based on physical anatomy.
“We realize that privacy interests need to be balanced with equality interests,” Mims said at the meeting. “We took a lot of care to look at constitutional issues and freedoms that people have that are protected under the law … We’ve recognized in this ordinance that due process needs to be allowed and if people do have those [religious] defenses, they’re required under law to give the city notification … and we’re going to evaluate that.”
So all businesses large and small have to do is say “it’s against my personal faith” and they can get a waiver to legally discriminate and be a bigot. And of course non-profits are exempted, and all religious institutions and organizations. Andd trans folks still can’t use public restrooms.
But gee, it did look swell on paper. As long as no one read it.