Op-Ed by former Judge Arthur L. Hunter, Jr. and Caroline Good
Judge Arthur Hunter (Ret) and Caroline Good Board Member Anti-Defamation League South Central. Chair, Anti-Defamation League South Central
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, but across the country state legislators are introducing bills to essentially make gay and trans people second-class citizens.
The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the U.S. seeking to criminalize parents and doctors for providing trans youth with gender affirming care, prevent trans athletes from competing on sports teams and banning teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students.
This is up ten times from an already inexcusable 42 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2018.
The Louisiana Legislature, unfortunately has joined this chorus, prompting the NAACP to issue a warning to use “extreme caution” when traveling in and to Louisiana. Such a warning could be devastating to our tourism revenue, but more urgently, we must consider what this means for African American and/or LGBTQ+ Louisiana residents. We are grateful to the governor for his promise to veto this cynical legislation. However, this is not a remedy. We must all resist the temptation to look away and normalize hate.
Hate is hate, whether it’s race, gender, sexuality, religion, or nationality and you cannot cherry pick your way out of it.
As much as organizations like Forum for Equality, the ACLU, and our South-Central Chapter of ADL are doing the hard work to fight against these bills, the business community and particularly the hospitality industry, must also speak up.
We ask that businesses flex their influence because it is the right thing to do. And because these policies are harmful economically. And because we have a collective responsibility to ensure that the arc of the moral universe continues to bend toward justice.
Former Judge Arthur L. Hunter, Jr. was a New Orleans Police Officer and served as Chief Judge, and Judge of Mental Health Court, Reentry Court and Veteran’s Treatment Court.