This Senator Thinks Gay People Should Just Be Thankful They're Not Being Executed
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton could use a lesson or two in human decency and compassion.
Cotton, a noted letter-writer, appeared Wednesday on CNN to discuss the religious freedom bills sweeping the country, many of which critics say will pave the way for discrimination against the LGBT community.
"I think it's important we have a sense of perspective about our priorities," he told host Wolf Blitzer. "In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay."
Right, because we should be using Iran and their state-sanctioned killing as the benchmark for civil rights. Thank you, Cotton, for that piece of wisdom.
His prior stances on LGBT rights have been predictably bad. A 2014 ad from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage declared that Cotton would "fight to restore our vote for marriage." He also came out in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.
His state, meanwhile, is in the midst of its own religious freedom battle. After one religious freedom bill had gained momentum in the Razorback state, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a first-term Republican, rejected the proposed measure Wednesday, asking the legislature to make changes to the bill.
"What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance," Hutchinson said, according to the New York Times. "And secondly, we make sure that we communicate we're not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future."
Indiana has come under intense scrutiny of late for its version of the law, even as other states continue to debate similar measures. Such bills have swept the country in recent years, and while proponents like Cotton argue that the state versions are nearly identical to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, critics dispute that claim.
Cotton's remarks Wednesday, however, go beyond any kind of reasoned debate. As ThinkProgress put it, he's "setting the bar so low, you'll probably need a shovel." Not only is he wrong, he's also on the wrong side of history — something that will surely be remembered by future generations.
Perhaps he should take a leaf out of Seth Hutchinson's — son of the governor — book. The younger Hutchinson was propelled onto the national stage Wednesday after his father revealed that his son strongly opposed Arkansas' religious freedom bill.
"We must build a mass movement of Americans fighting for economic, environmental and social justice if we want to see real progress," Seth Hutchinson said.