Arizona: truly the wild west. I came back from vacation Saturday and wondered if I was being pranked. Apparently, in my absence, the Arizona legislature introduced S.B. 1062, a law based on “religious freedom,” but barely hiding its discriminatory effects. By placing a magical sign picturing the Arizona flag icon and the words We reserve the right to refuse service, Arizona restaurants and clubs would be able to refuse service to the gay and lesbian community due to their religious principles being offended.
Ah, how to approach this new affront from the Arizona State legislature? There are so many ways to make fun of this flagrantly unconstitutional law, I find it hard to begin. Firstly, it is apparent that Arizona lawmakers have not learned a lesson from the last flop, that of S.B. 1070. As our state targeted a whole race, one that is fast becoming a majority, they placed hispanic people under a microscope by giving authorities the right to ask for their papers. All one had to do was look to their left or right and see hundreds of workers engaged in gardening, construction, maintenance, and other outdoor jobs.
The result of that law was a further migration of residents out of Arizona and into more reasonable states. Many conventions, conferences and events that were to take place in Arizona were cancelled, as groups on the left and the right responded to the prejudicial law. The state and its businesses lost millions of dollars in an economy that was just recovering from the recession. Governor Jan Brewer had no intention of vetoing S.B. 1070. She did, however, allow an amendment of the bill to state that authorities had to have a lawful reason to stop persons, such as a traffic violation or other crime.
Arizona is truly the wild, wild west. State lawmakers have stirred controversy over the years of Brewer’s governance. She herself flaunted manners towards the President when he visited Arizona, which photograph was seen across the country and in foreign countries as well. Whatever other countries think about President Obama, they certainly wonder at the disrespect offered the President.
What is the consequence so far of the bill? The National Football League, (NFL), is watching closely to see if Brewer signs S.B. 1062 into law. The Super Bowl XLIX is set to be played in Glendale at the University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015. USA Today reported, “The NFL has stopped short of saying the game could be moved elsewhere…the implicit threat floats invisibly but menacingly in the desert sky.”
Just as the NFL is embracing Michael Sam, the linebacker from Missouri who recently admitted to being gay, their big step forward could look like a leap back if there is no response to Arizona’s antiquated bill of law. They have assured Sam’s public relations representative that they are putting pressure on Brewer to reject this legislation. If she does nothing about the bill, it will be passed into law.
Opposition to the bill has been loud, and has included the condemnations of John McCain and Jeff Flake, the state’s Republican U.S. senators. McCain says anti-gay legislation hurts Arizona.
In Flagstaff, Arizona, hundreds of protesters gathered to show their support for complete rejection of the bill. Not only does the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender,and Bi-Sexual, (LGTB), community recognize the discrimination for what it is, they also have the wherewithal to make a difference in Arizona’s economy.
Arizona, the wild west. Next, the legislature will require those of the LGTB community to live in “gay ghettos.” This is not freedom of religion, but is rather the freedom to discriminate. Maybe those discriminated by the potential law should make it a practice to have dinner at home and make a public show of boycotting those businesses that would turn out gay customers for their sexual orientation.
Satire By Lisa M Pickering