This morning, SC Equality and Palmetto State citizens gathered in front of the state Senate Corrections and Penology Committee to testify against S. 1062, a bill that would prohibit the state’s department of corrections from providing hormone therapy to transgender inmates.

SC Equality Executive Director Christine Johnson updated her Facebook followers to express the organization’s position on the bill, writing that the legislation is “both unconstitutional and pointless.”

She said:

[The bill is] Unconstitutional because like Wisconsin’s bill, this one will be found in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendment. Pointless, because when SC Equality contacted the SCDOC to request the number of transgender inmates, they replied that they knew of NONE!

A later updated from Johnson exposed the sheer arrogance of South Carolina’s Republican majority (emphasis added):

The bill was amended “to address Ms. Johnson’s concerns” so that inmates who are already on hormone therapy cannot be denied therapy while in prison. It is still unconstitutional and will no doubt face a court challenge. When the potential court challenge was brought up, the sponsor and committee members laughed aloud blaming liberal activists judges for the problems.

Johnson wasn’t the only Palmetto politico speaking out on the measure this morning.

Kevin Bryant

State Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) took to his website to mock one transgender citizen’s testimony (having earlier in the same piece called a trans person a “He/She/?”):

A spokesperson from the transgender community testified at the hearing this morning with the arguments of cruel and unusual punishment and the unconstitutionality of s.1062.

Simply put, the cruelty would be on the taxpayer footing the bill for theses procedures costing 10’s of thousands of dollars. Also, I’ve never been one to check with the local liberal activist judge for permission on every piece of legislation.

If we were to start paying for “Dan” to become “Danielle”, were would we house the inmate? How can we protect the scarce funds of the already least funded department in the U.S.?

Respect for the law and Constitution? Nada. Respect for human dignity? Nada. Respect for equal access to legitimate healthcare? Nada. Respect for the American judicial system and its purpose? Nada. Nada. Nada.

What exactly is it that Republicans stand for again? Surely, the “Party of Lincoln” hasn’t become this heartless and disrespectful. Scratch that — Yes, they have.

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One-sided coverage in S.C. Lt. Gov. outing

NBC WIS 10 reporter Jack Kuenzie

NBC WIS 10's Jack Kuenzie

On Monday, Washington, D.C.-based blogger and activist Mike Rogers outed as gay South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. With a 100 percent rack record outing anti-gay, closeted politicians, Rogers’ reporting can’t be ignored.

Try telling that to NBC affiliate WIS 10 in Columbia, the Palmetto State’s capital.

In a report by Jack Kuenzie, Rogers’ track record is ignored. His past reporting absent from Kuenzie’s account.

In the report, various websites reporting Rogers’ claims were quickly flashed across the screen, including Rogers’ BlogActive, Advocate, Towleroad, Huffington Post, On Top Magazine and Q-Notes [my employer] but failed to mention Rogers’ site by name or the blogger himself.

jackkuenzie_qnotes

Q-Notes website

Who got the precious airtime, you ask? Bauer aides and political activists aligned with him (and one, perhaps unbiased public policy professor, Dr. Robert Oldendick, from the University of South Carolina). At the end of his report, Kuenzie says a party activist told him the outing claims “are not bound by the truth” and should be “ignored by voters” and “ignored by the mainstream media.”

Maybe if Kuenzie dealt more in matters of truth, and if his reporting were accurate and complete, Columbia’s local NBC affiliate couldn’t be accused of covering for its state’s second-highest-ranking executive?

Just in case you’d like to politely ask Jack Kuenzie to file a more accurate and complete follow-up story, you can email him at jkuenzie@wistv.com.

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A new South Carolina secession?

It seems Palmetto State Episcopalians aren’t too happy with their national denomination. Will the Diocese of South Carolina pull out of the Episcopal Church and join ranks with The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), or will they stay in the church as “loyal opposition”?

A new commentary at VirtueOnline.org asks this very question:

Is the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence planning to take his diocese out of The Episcopal Church? Word has it that Lawrence has been in “substantive talks” with Archbishop Robert Duncan of The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). But Lawrence has commented (in the past) that he is concerned about whether ACNA has a sufficient “catholic ecclesiology” — by which he means that he is not sure it is sufficiently united. It looks to him more like a loose federation than “one body”.

It is not, apparently, the direction he is expected to take the diocese. Sources tell VOL that when Lawrence meets with the clergy of his Diocese on Thursday, he will propose that his diocese push to be on the first level of the “two level, two tier” approach advocated by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Anglican Communion. He will also advocate closer ties with the Anglican Communion Institute’s (ACI) approach of staying in TEC as the denomination’s loyal opposition.

Despite what you might think, South Carolina isn’t as conservative as you’ve been led to believe. Don’t get me wrong: The Palmetto State is pretty anti-gay. But, there are liberal and progressive pockets. I can’t imagine Episcopalians in Columbia — one of only a few cities across the South banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of gender-identity and sexual orientation — being opposed to LGBTs living a full life of worship, fellowship and leadership in their church. (Update: I’ve learned South Carolina is comprised of two Episcopal dioceses. Columbia is in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.)

Even in conservative, aristocratic Charleston, I imagine there are liberal pockets of Episcopalians and folks from other religious faiths.

Perhaps the South Carolina bishop’s reticence to pull out isn’t based so much on loyalty to the national church, as it is loyalty to his local parishioners, many of whom might be divided on the issue?

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Mark Sanford the sex offender

For days on end now, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has found himself in a sticky political and personal mess. Having an affair and cheating on the mother of your four boys is bad enough. Sneaking off, lying about your whereabouts, completely abdicating your duties and risking impeachment for malfeasance, that sounds like a deal breaker.

Sanford is no longer listed among the possible contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Why would he be? After all, he could very well be charged with sex crimes, impeached and removed from office. And, he damn well should be.

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