There are two ways to read this poll. One is that a little less than half of straight people feel comfortable describing themselves as LGBT in the workplace, i.e. gay voice. Let’s hope that’s not how they understood the question. The other interpretation is that straight people have an idea of how safe it is to come out in their own workplaces, and it’s a lot sunnier than how their actually LGBT coworkers see it. Now is a good time to remember that online polls do not reflect broader trends. A full 27% of the respondents to this one identify as LGBT, which is about seven times the national average in the United States. That’s what you would expect from a poll about how you feel about describing yourself as gay. Gay people are more likely to click on that.
Yet a substantial number of straight people clicked on it, too—about three times as many as the LGBT respondents. Already, we see that we are sampling the opinions of a certain kind of straight person. They are not LGBT in their workplaces, but they feel like they know how it would go. Again, I guess it’s possible they didn’t read the question as a hypothetical and mean that they comfortably fake being gay at work, but one hopes a plurality of respondents aren’t doing that.
It’s likely respondents to this poll are imagining the experiences of their LGBT coworkers. More of them imagine that experience to be comfortable than report it as so. This result is similar to the result of this survey on blacks’ and whites’ views of racial discrimination. More white people say police are fair to black people. Fewer believe in blacks experience discrimination in stores and restaurants, or in that socioeconomic crucible we all know and love, the workplace. Black people and white people consistently disagree about the experience of black people by large margins.
When you put it that way, it seems obvious whom to believe. Maybe neither side is right. It’s probable that black respondents’ perception of discrimination against themselves is influenced by self-pity. That’s definitely been going on with white people. But at the risk of treating a premise like a conclusion: People who aren’t members of a particular group underestimate how much discrimination that group faces. Either that or black and LGBT people are just being babies. Somehow, that does not strike me as the likely explanation.
House Republicans celebrate passing the AHCA.
As you may have heard, Republicans in the House passed their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act yesterday. No longer will kids with cancer, women who had C-sections, and other drains on the system force the cost of their care onto real Americans by buying health insurance. No longer will insurers labor under the burdensome system of regulations that has depressed their soaring profits since 2010. Now freedom rings. Before doing the deed, the GOP caucus pumped itself up with a basement rendition of “Taking Care of Business”—fortunately, no one present could perceive irony—and celebrated afterward with Bud Light and a bus trip to the White House. Never mind that the Senate plans to scrap their bill and start over. The important thing is that House Republicans sent a message. Today is Friday, and America’s only functioning political party is hell-bent on cashing in while it can. Won’t you try not to get sick with me?
The wrestling match between Tucker Carlson and his conscience enters round 426.
With a song in my heart and protein in my urine, I rise from my sickbed to write Combat! blog, sort of. I’m still very sick. But thanks to antibiotics, I am much less sick in the throat, albeit still pretty feverish and alarmingly sore in the kidney region. You don’t want to hear a minute dissection of my health problems, though. You want a minute dissection of Madison, Wisconsin’s decision to amend its anti-discrimination ordinance to include atheists. Or, as Fox and Friends describes it, Madison’s decision to make it illegal to discriminate against atheism. You see what they did there? Hang on—I have to throw up. Watch the video after the jump and I’ll meet you at the end.
Arkansas House member and sponsor of religious freedom Rep. Bob Ballinger (not pictured: puppets)
I’m not saying that if a wizard transformed all the members of the Arkansas House of Representatives into animals, Rep. Bob Ballinger (R–Berryville) would be a walrus who goes “harrumph!” But he wouldn’t be a mallard, would he? That’s because a mallard is gay, and Ballinger sponsored the religious freedom law that Arkansas passed yesterday. That law is totally not designed to let businesses refuse service to homosexuals. That would be discrimination, and that’s not what Ballinger is about. Earlier this session, however, he did sponsor another bill that forbid Arkansas towns and cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances protecting gays and lesbians. But that’s a coincidence, owing to the widespread discrimination against Christians in America and the comparative absence of bias against gay people. Here’s Ballinger explaining to the Times why he didn’t think to clarify that his bill wasn’t about anti-gay discrimination:
“All the way through this I thought it was unnecessary because of the fact that it didn’t do everything that everybody was saying it was doing. In hindsight maybe I would have done it to maybe avoid all the pain.”
He said that a few minutes after the bill passed.
A hue and cry has risen against Indiana since Governor Mike Pence signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which exempts individuals from laws that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Critics say it amounts to legalizing discrimination against homosexuals. Pence called that claim “a smear” and insists the law merely reiterates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. In the interview with George Stephanopoulos above, however, the governor refused to say whether it would be legal for a Christian florist in Indiana to refuse to serve a gay wedding. He refused repeatedly. Stephanopoulos’s vain attempt to get him to answer yes or no begins around 1:25 and continues for four minutes, during which Pence hedges like a damn juniper. He simply will not say whether Indiana’s bill legalizes discrimination.