North Carolina, Kansas or Arizona: Which state is taking more rights away?

North Carolina voters passed a same-sex marriage ban this week.

It’s easy to be caught up in the drama of national politics: The name-calling, the horse-racing, the gaffe-spewing. But this is a distraction. On a federal level, government is so hidebound and slow that it doesn’t make sense to worry about it; nothing is going to get done there, ever. What you really need to worry about is politics at the state level, where a relative handful of people can pass far-sweeping changes without anyone really noticing until afterward.

In recent weeks we’ve seen a rush of horrible state laws and amendments in Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina. Which are the worst? Let’s run down this cornucopia of misguided ideas and see.

Arizona

Old terrible laws: Turning police into immigration officials with the “Show me your papers” law; banning any ethnic studies classes that might make white people uncomfortable; banning teachers with accents from teaching English; suspending teachers for swearing or having sex in their personal lives [proposed].

New terrible law: A bill proposed in the Arizona legislature would change the definition of “pregnancy” to start on the first day of a woman’s last period, which would mean that women would be deemed pregnant weeks before they actually conceived a child. Essentially, in Arizona lawmakers’ eyes, all women are pregnant until they are officially proven otherwise.

Kansas


Old terrible laws:
Banning the use of mules to hunt ducks; stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment by banning an imaginary effort to implement sharia law.

New terrible law: Whatever your feelings on abortion, you’d probably agree that politicians should not require doctors lie to their patients. But a new law in Kansas would do just that, requiring doctors to warn women that abortion causes breast cancer. To put it plainly, this has not been proven. As the American Cancer Society says, “scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.” But why should doctors have to limit themselves to facts when they’re talking to women?

North Carolina

Old terrible laws: Banning bingo games that last over five hours, unless they take place at a fair; banning alcohol at bingo games.

New terrible law: Voters in North Carolina yesterday overwhelmingly voted to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, essentially writing gays’ second-class citizenship into the very fabric of the state. The amendment also bans unmarried couples — gay and straight — from civil unions and domestic partnerships. “Separate but equal? No thanks, that’s too radical for us,” said every person in North Carolina.

The lesson is clear: If you are gay, Hispanic or a woman — for God’s sake, stay in the Northeast! (And, as one of our readers points out, even here it’s not so great.)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…