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WATCH: After Marriage Equality, Antigay Lawmakers Draft 'Revenge' Bills

WATCH: After Marriage Equality, Antigay Lawmakers Draft 'Revenge' Bills


Unable to stop the spread of marriage equality, antigay lawmakers are instead turning to laws that punish LGBT citizens, be they married or simply local consumers.

By now, most antigay lawmakers can see the writing on the wall: marriage equality is coming, and they can't stop it any more than they can overturn the U.S. Constitution. (Mike Huckabee and Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, still clinging to the belief that they can nullify federal rulings, are the only ones who don't seem to have gotten the memo.)

So what's an antigay legislator to do? Create a "revenge law" that punishes LGBT citizens, and occasionally the state officials who have taken up the cause of equality.

Of course, laws that victimize gays and lesbians are nothing new, as last year's flurry of so-called license to discriminate bills demonstrated. But the latest round of proposed laws is part of a backlash that is a direct response to the newly affirmed right of same-sex couples to marry -- especially in traditionally conservative states.

Oklahoma may be ground zero for the phenomenon. So far, a collection of legislators there have introduced at least eight bills that would make life more difficult for LGBT citizens. Some put marriage equality directly in their crosshairs, like Rep. Sally Kern's bill that would revoke the salary of any official who allowed a same-sex couple to marry. Others are more subtle, such as Rep. Todd Russ's "turn away the gays" bill.

But by far the most dangerous is Kern's bill that would prevent the state from shutting down abusive practictioners of the discredited, unscientific "ex-gay therapy." California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., have banned subjecting minors to such treatment, which has no professional medical backing and has been disavowed as harmful and ineffective by every major medical and mental health organization in the country. But Kern is the first official to propose a law that would explicitly protect the practice.

Even under the best of circumstances, "ex-gay" regimens do not achieve their intended effect. And more often, the experience only serves to cause more serious harm. But on multiple occasions, the people claiming the ability to change a person's sexuality have been revealed to be sexual predators. Kern's bill would allow these people to continue their behavior, and grant them access to more unwitting victims.

Get up to speed on the state of the backlash to marriage equality below:

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Matt Baume