WASHINGTON — Fat acceptance advocates around the nation celebrated today as a bill to end discrimination against fat people resoundingly cleared the Senate.
The Petunia Wentworth Anti-Size Discrimination Act of 2013 passed early Monday with a vote of 58-42. Four Republicans (Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine) joined with two independents and all 52 Democrats to pass the bill. The Act now moves to the GOP-controlled House, where it has little chance of being passed into law.
“The old white fatphobic men in the Republican Party don’t understand the plight of fat-identified cisgendered women in American society,” said Krystina Poggioli, spokeswoman for the D.C. chapter of NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, who led a rally at the Washington Monument in support of the bill. “They don’t even recognize those skinny bitc—er, I mean skinny women as human beings! What makes you think they’ll pass this bill?”
“If the House knows what’s good for them, they’ll pass this bill into law,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who co-sponsored the Senate bill along with Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). “Demographics are changing. The overweight make up an increasing percentage of the American people. If the GOP doesn’t start trying to appeal to the obese, they’ll never win a presidential election again.”
Alternate Reality News attempted to contact House Speaker John Boehner’s office to talk about the Wentworth Act. While we succeeded in getting the speaker on the phone, after we explained the bill to him, he started laughing hysterically for about a minute before shouting in pain and falling onto the floor. Shortly thereafter, Boehner was rushed to the hospital having suffered a heart attack; he is currently in stable condition.
Despite the slim chance of getting the bill past House Republicans, fat acceptance activists still consider the Wentworth Act a victory.
“I’ve been fat all my life. I have a condition with my, um… adrenals,” said protester LaTeesha Jones between bites of a Big Mac. “Finally the government is listening to me!”
“We’re just happy that we’re finally being heard,” Poggioli continued, after scarfing down a whole cheesecake to raise her blood sugar levels. “Fat people vote too. We’re your neighbors, co-workers, wives and mothers. We deserve respect and dignity just as much as anyone else.”
The Wentworth Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of size, physical appearance or perceived healthcare costs. It also defines comments against fat people as “hate speech,” punishable by up to five years in prison or a $50,000 fine. Similar acts have already been passed into law in Washington state and California and are being considered in Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. While the New Jersey act has the support of Republican governor Chris Christie, well-known for his expansive waist size, the New York version of the act has stalled due to fierce opposition from several prominent state officials, including New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“This bill is completely insane,” said Bloomberg at a press conference. “Obesity is out of control in this country, and we’re making it illegal to criticize fat people? I’ve dedicated my mayoral career to making New Yorkers healthier, and I’m not going to just stand by while these perv… these people celebrate a lifestyle that is unhealthy and burdensome to the taxpayer.”
The federal act was named after Petunia Wentworth, an overweight 16-year old teenager from Akron, Ohio who gained national fame when she committed suicide after reading a satirical online article entitled “Why Fat Girls Don’t Deserve to Be Loved.” Wentworth’s parents attempted to sue Matt Forney, the author of the article, for “cyberbullying” and “harassment,” but the case was thrown out of court after the presiding judge broke down in laughter and suffered a stroke. Since then, the Wentworths have become nationally sought-after speakers on cyberbullying and fat discrimination and are major supporters of the Act.
“It’s the only way to get justice for my little Petunia,” said April Wentworth at the rally while handing out platters of her homemade mayonnaise cookies. “I want to live in an America where fat women are free to live their lives without harassment.”
Speaking via telephone from Portland, Oregon, Forney offered a few words for supporters of the Wentworth Act. Throughout our conversation, we could hear slurping sounds in the background.
“Grow the [CENSORED] up,” said Forney. “I can’t beLIEve how—aaaaagh, slow down honey, slow down, I’m gonna [CENSORED]—I can’t believe how wussified we’ve become as a nation. You know, if all these ‘fat acceptance’ people put half of the energy they put into their joke of a movement into losing weight instead, they’d all be skinny now and they wouldn’t have any problems. I’m getting the [CENSORED] out of this country as soon as I can.”
President Obama himself has remained mum on his position on the bill. While First Lady Michelle Obama has been active in programs to reduce childhood obesity, Poggioli and other activists point to her husband’s changed positions on foreign wars, civil liberties, drone strikes and just about every other issue of importance as signs of hope.
“LET’S SEND THE PRESIDENT A MESSAGE!” Poggioli howled through her bullhorn, turning to face the White House. “HEY HEY, HO-HO, FATPHOBIA’S GOT TO GO! HEY HEY, HO-HO, FATPHOBIA’S GOT TO—”
Poggioli paused to catch her breath and down another Red Bull.
“HEY HEY, HO-HO, FATPHOBIA’S GOT TO GO!”
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