Businesses, Bathrooms, and Bermuda


Businesses, Bathrooms, and Bermuda

February 09, 2018

Liberals can be like weathermen: they make a lot of predictions that never come true. But at least meteorologists are forecasting in good faith -- studying facts and patterns and trends. The Left, on the other hand, will prophecy doom without a scrap of evidence on its side. And the bathroom debate is exhibit A.

For more than a year and a half, Americans heard about the coming cataclysm for states that defended privacy. An economic storm is brewing, liberals warned, and it'll level anyone brave enough to put safety above political correctness. Headlines about financial ruin covered the front pages of states like North Carolina and Texas, where leaders were battling to keep men out of girls' restrooms, changing rooms, and showers. At one point, a group called the Texas Association of Business claimed that the Lone Star state would lose a whopping $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if it passed the measure that a majority of Texans wanted. The goal was to get people to think twice about the bill. And it worked -- until fact checkers got involved.

Turns out, the figures were completely bogus. Things started to smell fishy when the authors wouldn't talk to PolitiFact. Then there was the matter of the missing citations. More than once, investigators said, "The study footnotes [a] figure] to a web link that doesn't work." Still, the association claimed, "Given that the Texas travel industry has a $31 billion annual impact, a 15 percent reduction would result in an overall loss of $8.5 billion," the study says, "or 0.5% of the state GDP." When the projection wasn't sourced, PolitiFact dug deeper and found a huge discrepancy. Turns out, "the '15 percent' reduction was a typo that should have said '.5 percent,' as the study states otherwise." The result? PolitiFact rated the claim MOSTLY FALSE.

Now, almost a year to the day, there's a lot more than just PolitiFact debunking the Left's lies. Forbes is finishing the job other experts started, cutting out the legs under an already shaky argument in its latest Top States for Business report. Guess where Texas finished? Number two, the state's best showing since 2006. And North Carolina -- ground zero in the bathroom wars? Number one -- a spot above its last two years. So much for privacy debates being bad for business! In fact, of the top 10 states, only ONE (Colorado) has the radical sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) law liberals are fighting for. Just as compelling, of the 10 worst states for business on Forbes's list, SIX have SOGI laws for employment and public accommodations (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, and Vermont). So much for SOGIs and religious discrimination being essential to economic success.

Of course, there's other evidence too. In Houston last year, where voters overwhelmingly repealed the city's bathroom bill, the NFL had one of its most prosperous Super Bowl showings to date. Tourism will slump, liberals argued. Revenue will sag. Instead, the game helped Space City to astronomical earnings. And in North Carolina, where the NBA and NCAA instantly regretted pulling key games from the state, business is booming. Despite the Left's prognostications, more companies are running to the state than away from it. Even now, Raleigh is a front-runner for what may be the most lucrative bid of the decade: the next headquarters of Amazon. It's all music to the ears of conservatives, who for two years had to endure the steady drip of negativity about the effect of privacy debates on local economies. And what do we hear from the Left? Crickets.

Unfortunately for the Left, the marketplace isn't the only place they're losing ground. People here (and around the world) are starting to see the consequences of redefining marriage and creating new gender norms. In Bermuda, the legislature just toppled the British territory's same-sex marriage law less than a year after the court ordered it. The rest of the world watched, astonished, as the island did what no other nation has: rolled back same-sex marriage in exchange for domestic partnerships. Minister Walter Brown pointed to the swell of opposition for the court's ruling, saying the Act, "strike[s] a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples." It's also in keeping with local sentiment. Two years ago, Bermudans voted 2:1 to outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Here at home, the tide continues to turn. Attitudes are subtly shifting since Donald Trump made it okay to talk openly about social issues again. The White House certainly hasn't been shy about calling the Left's absurdity what it is. And that may also be reflected in the latest surveys. For the first time in the last few years, Americans are starting to voice their concerns about the saturation of the LGBT agenda in schools, the medical profession, and public. The Harris Poll sent shockwaves through the radical Left this week when it found that Americans were actually more uncomfortable with the in-your-face behavior of people who identify as gay or transgender than before. In other words, the acceptance for that agenda isn't actually growing, they fear, but regressing in a post-Obergefell world.

Then, in another encouraging sign of the changes taking place, Colorado's Joint Budget Committee took the bold step of defunding the state's Civil Rights Commission -- the same radical bureaucrats who targeted Christian baker Jack Phillips for turning down a same-sex wedding cake order. These so-called "civil rights" agencies have been one of the Left's biggest weapons in the crusade against religious liberty. For years, they've used these commissions as a club to punish Christian conservatives for living out their beliefs on issues like marriage. We congratulate and applaud our friends at Colorado Family Action for taking the teeth out of what's become nothing more than a taxpayer-funded extension of the radical Human Rights Campaign.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the February 9 Washington Update:

Fake News and Real Consequences

The Dawn of a New Budget


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