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SD state senator wants to narrow gay people's rights; is the victim, natch

by Jeremy Hooper

Ernie Otten, a first term Republican state senator in South Dakota, has introduced legislation that would allow local businesses to discriminate against customers who wish to make purchases that somehow acknowledge their same-sex wedding or related ceremony. His proposal is a targeted attack that basically allows vendors to install a "no heterosexuality, no service" sign in their shop windows. It's a truly noxious concept that is not only disturbing on its face but that would also set a virulent precedent in terms of nondiscriminatory business practices, who must follow them, and when.

But you guys, Mr. Otten is the victim. Duh!

The GOP lawmaker tells the American Family Association's One News Now:

"There are radical activists out there that are always after us," says Otten, who says he learned that some of them plan to "take a run" at the South Dakota constitution. The state constitution says marriage is between a man and a woman. [ONN]

Always after him. He's wasting legislative time on a bill that seeks special carve outs that tell local LGBT people that they are second class citizens whose rights and protections (and, by extension, lives and loves) are meant to be undermined, but yet he is the one who lives in fear. Riiiiight.

But of course I'm in no way surprised to hear a local conservative working this "but I'm the victim" meme, since it's the one that the national conservative movement has so insistently, militantly, and anti-intellectually forced onto this debate. They are making an all-out, fifty state, targeted push to make our fellow citizens see us as aggressive, overreaching, overly entitled tyrants who deserve to be put in our place. It's become so commonplace that it's easy to kind of roll your eyes and dismiss their obviously desperate strategizing for what we know it to be. But when you really stop and think about the endgame that they're working toward (i.e. a population that turns on a certain minority for simply believing we are equal), it's actually quite chilling.

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