The Arizona state legislature passed a bill yesterday that is now sitting on the desk of Governor Jan Brewer awaiting either her signature or veto. Ironcially, the governor vetoed a similar piece of legislation last year authored by the same sponsor, Az State Senator Yarbrough R-
The bill is SB1062 and it originated in the State Senate. The Arizona House passed it yesterday. The bill is being called the “Religious Freedom Bill” although those who oppose it are calling it the bill of State Sanctioned Discrimination.
SB1062 is aimed at gays and lesbians, clearly, and it appears to be Arizona’s knee-jerk reaction to gay marriage. What the bill does is it provides a defense for people who discriminate or refuse services to gay people because homosexuality opposes their religious beliefs. But, if you study the bill it soon becomes clear that this bill if enacted into law could apply to any group just not gays and lesbians.
Religious beliefs vary widely. Some people hold the religious belief that if you aren’t a Christian and don’t worship Jesus Christ you’re not only going to Hell but you don’t deserve anything in life either. Some people hold the religious view that if you don’t belong to their religion then you’re an “infidel” and should be put to death for refusing to join their religion. Others hold the religious view that sex with animals is “good and right.” Some hold religious beliefs that God has appointed them to be “God Warriors” and, thus, they think they have the divine right to do anything they want to people not of their faith or denomination. Others hold the religious belief that God is an angry and vengeful God or that he doesn’t exist at all and, thus, anything goes and it doesn’t matter how you treat others because “God will get them in the end.” So if one of these people decide to discriminate and/or act upon their religious beliefs does this mean they will be protected and provided a defense when sued for discrimination under SB1062. Very likely unfortunately.
Arizona’s is known as the “Grand Canyon State.” It appears that it should be known as the “Hate and Prejudice State” as that motto fits its history much more appropriately. Arizona was the last state in the Union to approve rights for women. It was one of the last states in the Union to recognize civil rights in the 1960s. It was the last state to accept the MLK Holiday and only did so when it figured out it was costing the state millions in revenue due to terminated tourism and convention business. The state has a long history of discrimination against Hispanics even though Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the state. Can anyone forget Arizona’s now infamous SB1070 legislation that gave Arizona police the right to demand papers from anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally? I like to refer to that legislation not as the “anti-Immigration law” but as the “Gestapo Law” since it comes right out of the old Nazi Germany textbook! Further, Hispanics in Arizona will never forget how present state Attorney General Tom Horn who was the state’s education secretary at the time gutted the Ethnic Studies program in Arizona schools in Tucson claiming that the classes fostered “racism.” Ironically, RACISM is exactly what this present bill SB1062 fosters along with SEXISM!
What astound me more than anything is that a bill like this could actually make it through the legislature and end up on the governor’s desk in this 21st century. If we were living before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s such a fact would not be surprising but we aren’t. Yet, Arizona continues to get away with this kind of discrimination targeting one group after another and demonstrating to the whole country and world just exactly where the home of racism, sexism, and prejudice is. I am astounded that Arizona voters allow this to happen especially in those liberal Arizona conclaves such as Phoenix and Tucson.
State Republican Senator Steve Yarbrough of Chandler is the primary sponsor and apparent author of the legislation and his co-sponsors were Republican State Senators Nancy Barto of Phoenix and Bob Worsley of Mesa. Every Democrat in the legislature voted against the bill along with 2 or 3 Republicans who felt the bill established state sanctioned discrimination. But the bill passed in both houses because Arizona’s legislature is dominated by the Republicans and has a Republican governor as well.
Supporters say the law is needed to protect religious people from discrimination lawsuits such as the New Mexico photographer who was sued by a gay couple in Arizona due to his refusal to photo them during their civil union ceremony. They also claim that this law would give Arizona one further protection against instituting gay marriage in the state via the courts. Several states have similar measures in their legislatures being considered but ONLY Arizona has actually passed such a bill. Arizona voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution forbidding gay marriage in the state and thus Arizona has made the message clear, “If you’re gay don’t come to Arizona.” Of course the state has also made a message clear to Hispanics and that is “If you are Hispanics in Arizona you have NO RIGHTS!”. Just what is this state thinking? Are they thinking? Doubtful.
At least one Arizona legislator said this bill is embarassing to the state. No, what this bill is is absolutely OUTRAGEOUS to any and every human being on the planet! What it does it establishes State Sponsored Discrimination against certain groups of people who happen NOT to agree with those religious folks in the state. Arizona already has a state constitution amendment passed by voters forbidding gay marriage so why is this law SB1062 even needed? The answer is simple. It is one further affront just to make sure gays and others get Arizona’s message, which apparently is, “WHITE CHRISTIANS ONLY!”. I wonder if Jesus would support such a message considering he was not White himself?
Arizona is and always has been a punitive state that likes to target certain groups of people and basically hang them out to dry one way or another. Both the KKK and Neo-Nazi groups have quite a following in the state and one wonders why the federal government doesn’t do something about it. It is a state in which there is a “good ole boy” system working overflowing with corruption and back room deals at the highest levels of government. It is a state that has always been a hub for illegal drug running and human trafficking and still is and one often wonders just who is getting paid off for turning the other way pretending not to notice. It was also the state through which assault weapons ended up being supplied to the drug cartels in Mexico via Operation Fast & Furious. Arizona already wears enough badges of DIS-honor but apparently it always has room for one more, sadly.
I hope Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes this bill because if she signs it into law it is going to open up a whole new can of worms for the state. FACT is religious views can include ANYTHING no matter how ridiculous or illogical or real for that matter. And what will be the next step for the state’s legislature? Will they now decide to pass a law designating acceptable religious views? And whose religious views will those be? The AZ legislature has once again made a fool out of itself as it has many times before. It has put the governor and the people of the state into a very dishonorable position. Arizona is one state that has called for civility in the past yet it appears the state itself is unwilling to give any civility. It preaches one thing and does the opposite. Hmmm…wouldn’t Jesus consider that to be a HYPOCRITE! He surely would.
You can read the bill at:
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