Nevada drops bad-for-business religious freedom bill

las vegas sign photo
Photo by wuestenigel

Hunter Thompson was right. To understand American capitalism and culture, you must understand the hyper-reality of Las Vegas. You want to bring your convention of transgendered Wiccans of color to Vegas, trust me, you will be welcomed. Especially now.

Nevada lawmakers will no longer push for religious freedom bills, after watching the debacles in Indiana and Arkansas. Their primary concern is an onerous anti-LGBT law would hurt tourism and convention business – and nothing, nothing I tell you – can be allowed to interfere with casinos and their business. In a very real sense, the market has spoken, and the gaming industry is deeply attuned to what the market wants. Not only is gaming big business in Vegas, it is also the biggest US city for conventions, and is expanding capacity rapidly to handle more and bigger conventions.

Mandalay Bay already has a one million square foot convention hall (with twenty acres of solar panels on the roof!) and is adding 350,000 more square feet. They, and all the other casinos, do not want ginormous conventions to stop coming to Vegas because troglodytes in the legislature passed a law alienating possible visitors. That may play in other states, but not in Nevada.

Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro, which brings 175,000 to Vegas each year, applauds the decision.

“Religious liberty is a core value but should not be used as a cover for discrimination in the public sphere. There is no reason why religious faith cannot coexist with tolerance and diversity — that is the American way. Put simply, discrimination is morally wrong and bad for business. We applaud Nevada’s leaders for saying no to discrimination and encourage all states to reject similar legislation.”

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