Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti Gay Bill
A remarkable notch in the belt of equality happened yesterday when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill in the state of Arizona. The bill backed by republicans in the Legislature was designed to give added protection from lawsuits to businesses who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays. What this really meant is a legal permission slip to discriminate. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act could have been used to protect businesses that discriminate not only against the LGBT community but also unmarried women or veterans, among other groups. It is unfair in theory, context, and practice. “Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.” Governor Brewer was under a great deal of pressure from both supporters, particularly republicans, and opponents of the bill. She concluded her official statement, “Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans.”
Read Governor Brewer’s full statement here.
Many people are comparing these discriminatory notions to the Jim Crow laws that were in place during the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s. These laws enabled public racial segregation in the southern United States.
Taking it to Reality
When I began to think about the reality of how this would affect the lgbt community, I realized it could potentially become a total war. Imagine wanting to buy your dream house with your partner, but being turned away by realtors. What about going to the pharmacy for a life dependent prescription, or even hormone replacement therapy medication, and the pharmacist passing judgement, refuses to administer your medicine. Wedding industry companies refusing to sell you a dress, a cake, engagement rings, or even rent you a hall for your special day. Imagine not being able to take your kids on a family outing to one of those indoor amusement parks that children love so much, simply because you are a same sex family. Restaurants, clothing boutiques, hotels – the list goes on. Even though I am not a resident of Arizona, I am rejoicing a the decision made by the governor. It was a step in the right direction to stamp out discrimination and say that it is not okay.