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
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.