Florida film bill's anti-gay bias is a big-screen blunder
From Scott Maxwell at the Orlando Sentinel:
Orlando Republican Steve Precourt championed bill supposed to be about economic development but strayed off course
Tallahassee lawmakers seem obsessed with homosexuality.
The latest example? Three little words tucked into a bill that's supposed to be about job creation.
The legislation would offer millions of dollars in tax breaks to filmmakers who roll cameras in the Sunshine State. The hitch is that some of that money would be available only to movies that avoid featuring "nontraditional family values."
In other words: Lassie and Timmy could get extra tax dollars … unless Timmy has two mommies. Then he could kiss that 5 percent bonus goodbye.
This is how your lawmakers spend their time.
They see gay boogeymen around every corner and are determined to insert their discriminatory paranoia into any bill they can. Even if it has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
This time, however, it may not work.
Facing mounting criticism and nationwide scrutiny, the bill's sponsor, Orlando Republican Steve Precourt, is now backtracking. He realizes that these few, incendiary words managed to turn into a lightning rod a bill that otherwise would have enjoyed wide support.
But it says a lot about this state that it even got this far.
The Palm Beach Post was the first to catch this strange addition into an otherwise routine bill. Asked about giving tax credits to movies that feature gay characters, Precourt responded: "That would not be the kind of thing I'd say that we want to invest public dollars in."
The national media pounced. From Fox News to The New York Times, everyone was fascinated with the politician who had found a new and exciting way to discriminate: via tax incentives for movies.
So Precourt began backpedaling.
Read the rest here.