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Beware the Backlash

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Beware the Backlash
Since the wave of marriage-equality success across the nation, we have begun to see a backlash. A backlash occurs when a political bloc—in this case, religious conservatives, a large group of Republicans and homophobes—feel threatened by the successes of another political bloc, in this case, the LGBT community. This success, coupled with the spate of public-opinion polls showing widespread support for the LGBT community against every form of discrimination, has that group very worried that they are becoming dinosaurs.

Every minority socio-economic group fighting for its rights has faced backlash. In our case, the current movement pushing back against us happens to have proposed 85 laws seeking to restrict LGBT rights in 26 states across the nation.

Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal have done an incredible job of keeping track of recent anti-gay legislation and alerting the community on the bills' progress. HRC has divided the legislation into four categories: Religious refusals, meaning a company or business may refuse LGBT people any rights if they object to our "lifestyle"; promoting conversion therapy, treatment that seeks to change sexual orientation—largely practiced on youth—which has been condemned by all leading medical and mental-health organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association; anti-transgender laws, where lawmakers are basically looking to throw the book at our transgender brothers and sisters; and, finally, canceling out LGBT nondiscrimination, where elected officials are looking to repeal LGBT nondiscrimination laws in cities and jurisdictions that have already adopted them.

Only one state boasts proposed measures in all four categories. Can you guess which one? Texas.

Oklahoma follows with three, South Carolina, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, South Dakota and Colorado each have two, and the remainder of the 26 states have seen only one of the four.

Two presumptive presidential candidates are already on record for these forms of discrimination: Ted Cruz has consistently opposed the LGBT community's rights and, at a campaign stop in Georgia just last week, Jeb Bush stated his support for religious discrimination against LGBT people. Scott Walker, who is quickly becoming the Mitt Romney of this race, as usual has not clearly stated his position.

If Bush, who is seen as the moderate of all these candidates, is in support of anti-LGBT legislation, it is almost impossible for the rest of the Republican field to be elsewhere.

So while we are waiting for that U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality this summer, maybe—just maybe—we should also prepare for a harsher backlash if the court rules our way.
Mark Segal
Philadelphia, Pa.

Get Rid of Contrails
Getting rid of air pollution and getting rid of global warming are diametrically opposed. Don't people get that? Air pollution, especially contrails, are blocking the sun. NASA admits it.

You can have no warming, or no pollution, but you can't have both. Which do you prefer?

I've heard a decision has already been made. Scientists have a new hobby: Ridding the sky of artificial clouds, known as "cirrus aviaticus," from aircraft. They have been testing it out a little in the Western states and just south of us. Maybe by next winter, they will give the information to the East Coast and Salt Lake City. Then we can all bask in the glory of 100 percent of the sunlight that should have been hitting us this whole time. Oh, and be able to breathe.
Engrid Shlee
Salt Lake

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