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Last Friday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch printed a correction explaining what Sen. Bob Onder (R-2) really meant when he seemed to blame  Illinois’ budgetary problems on LGBT friendly laws in that state. Of course, such an argument does not stand up to scrutiny – I wrote about some of the problems it raises in a post last Thursday, “What’s Bob Onder Got Against Illinois.”

Here’s the direct quote from the original Post-Dispatch article:

“We look at states that have a lot of aggressive gay rights laws — Illinois comes to mind, Chicago — and they are some of our economic basket cases,” Onder said. “I really think that these businesses should leave well enough alone and let Missouri voters decide whether to protect religious freedom.

What do you think Onder is trying to suggest?

Somebody – Onder perhaps – believed that clarification of this statement was necessary so this correction appeared in the Post-Dispatch (Friday, April 1, p. 2):

Missouri Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, said that he believes a proposed constitutional amendment giving businesses the right to refuse to serve same-sex couples would be good for business, and he asserted that Illinois is a state with aggressive gay-rights laws as well as economic problems. A headline and article in the A section Thursday incorrectly reported that Onder had suggested that Illinois’ gay-rights laws were hurting the state’s economy.

What does this noise have to do with the price of cigars?

Why would Onder think it’s a big deal that there are states whose economic problems have nothing to do with their inclusive approach to LGBT issues?

Do you think he’d also like to remark on the fact that YouTube videos have nothing to do with Illinois economic woes?

The real point, the one that the Chamber of Commerce is trying to make and that Onder doesn’t get, is that the world has changed. LGBT folks are not going to take exclusion meekly, and business leaders have learned that discrimination isn’t good for the bottom line. Some corporate types are even opposed to bigotry for moral reasons. These businesses are now aware of the problems posed by freedom-to-discriminate laws, and many are more than willing to use their economic clout to make themselves heard, as they have done in Indiana, Georgia and in North Carolina – and in Missouri, one expects, if SJR39, Onder’s freedom-to-discriminate bill, becomes state law. Then we’ll all pay the price for his economic vagaries.