Early this month, in a piece about Republican attacks on State Board of Education President John Austin, I noted that State Senator Tom Casperson was moving forward with introducing one of his own here in Michigan. Sure enough, as he promised, today that bill was introduced as Senate Bill 993.
In that piece, I also said this:
Sen. Casperson’s yet-to-be-introduced “bathroom bill” will cause the same type economic hardship for the Michigan as it has for North Carolina and will very likely result in a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s also being spit on by the leaders of a number of major Michigan corporations. In other words, it’s not going anywhere and he knows it.
Casperson’s bill – which Equality Michigan so perfectly refers to as the “Bathroom Inspection Bill” – defines gender as “the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as define at birth”. It compels schools to stop trans kids from using restrooms or locker rooms that are different than this definition of gender. Not only that, it says schools shall provide accommodation for trans kids but that it may not include peeing or showering with other kids of their self-identified gender. The only accommodations that it mentions are single-occupancy restrooms or locker rooms.
The federal government has already made it clear that they believe this to be a violation of transgender kids’ civil rights and are suing the state of North Carolina over their new law. Businesses are pulling out of North Carolina or are cancelling planned expansions. Entertainers are refusing to perform in North Carolina. The economic toll this sort of bigotry is taking on North Carolina will likely rival what Arizona experienced when they pass their “Papers, please” law.
And yet Tom Casperson went ahead with it anyway. Since it’s clear that this legislation is going nowhere – businesses are against it and more and more of his colleagues are leaving their bigotry behind – the question is WHY? The answer is that he’s running for Congress in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District. It’s a sprawling district that includes all of the Upper Peninsula and most of the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. Casperson is counting on 1st District voters to be as bigoted as he is and is pandering to them with this vote.
Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan released this statement:
Michigan is facing a litany of problems because of Republican control — a massive budget deficit, crumbling roads, poisoned water in Flint, and a Detroit school district that can’t afford to pay teachers — but Sen. Casperson is focused on discriminatory legislation that stokes fear and creates a dangerous environment for transgender students. This bill is wrong. The last thing we need is Michigan Republicans like Tom Casperson policing student bathrooms and locker rooms and putting Michigan back in the national spotlight for again refusing to protect marginalized people in our state. Transgender students — like all students — deserve respect and equal treatment, they don’t need conservatives like Tom Casperson telling them how, when and where to use public facilities.
The worst part about this isn’t the amount of revenue the state will lose from businesses choosing other states to operate in. It isn’t that Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen won’t do concerts here. It isn’t even that we’ll have to fight a costly lawsuit with the federal government using our dwindling tax dollars.
The worst part about this is that kids who are already struggling and having a difficult time in their lives dealing with self-doubt, violence and brutality, and general discrimination are now going to have to face all of these things ten-fold thanks to Casperson’s bigotry and pandering for the votes of fearful bigots.
For a self-proclaimed Christian, the man has a very, very tiny heart and a very black soul.