Sunday, April 15, 2012

Florida Legislator Drops Effort to Legalize Dwarf-Tossing

Remember last fall when Florida Representative Ritch Workman filed House Bill 4063, which would have repealed a law that essentially bans dwarf-tossing? Workman thought that House Bill 4063 was a viable jobs bill. Gary Arnold of the Little People of America argued that dwarf-tossing is "exceedingly dangerous", that it places little people at high risk for neck and back injuries, and that is is objectifying and demoralizing for the people being tossed.

I found HB 4063 to be unsafe, immoral, and undignified and advocated for its defeat. Fortunately, my wish has now come true. Workman (reluctantly) dropped this repeal effort last week:
"I find the practice of dwarf-tossing repulsive. I would never go to an event. But what I found more repulsive is that in 1980, this state decided that a person of sane mind -- a full human with a full human mind -- could not make their own decision to act like a fool," he told Florida Today, before explaining why he decided to drop the proposed repeal.

After the repeal effort was reported, Workman said he was contacted by little people from all over America who asked him to reconsider. "They are lawyers, elected officials and all struggle to get past that carnival thing from 100 year ago," he told Florida Today. "I had a doctor, a lovely woman from New York, call me and say, 'Has anyone ever stopped you on the street and hugged you? Rubbed your head? Taken pictures of you? I said, 'No.'"

"She said, 'Well, I'm a doctor, and people think I'm some sort of circus clown," he continued. "And although I agree that I should have the right to be tossed in a bar if I want to, can you please stop talking about this?'

At that point, Workman decided to stop fighting for the repeal, adding, "Not because I'm wrong on the liberty issue, but sometimes human dignity needs to prevail."
As noted in my earlier post, Florida is one of only two states that bans dwarf-tossing. Unfortunately, Iowa is not the other state. I'm not aware of any dwarf-tossing events going on here, but it really bugs me that it is legal in the first place. I don't say this often, but Iowa really needs to take a page from Florida's law books and begin the process of enacting its own anti-dwarf-tossing law.

In the meantime, I symbolically celebrate alongside the LPA following news that this repeal effort has been dropped.

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