The Arizona State Legislature has unfortunately once again passed a piece of legislation that promotes hatred and discrimination against yet another certain minority group. In this case it is gay and lesbian people. It appears that state legislators have followed in the footsteps of their predecessors who enacted the now infamous SB 1070, the “Gestapo Bill,” into law which promoted discrimination against Hispanics within the state.
Supporters of SB 1062 claim that the bill is about protection and freedom of religion and religious beliefs. Yet, what the bill actually establishes is State Sanctioned Discrimination on a very wide scale and in ways that can’t even be foreseen yet. Granted people have the right to hold whatever religious beliefs they desire but when they run a public business in the public sector religious beliefs take a backseat, that is, IF they wish to remain in business for long. Clearly, SB 1062 is a direct attack on gay people in the state and if signed by Governor Brewer it will open up a Hornet’s Nest for the state and its economy as was opened when Arizona refused to accept the MLK Holiday. In that matter the Super Bowl moved from Arizona to Pasadena and the state lost millions of dollars in revenue due to canceled conventions and loss of tourism. Such losses will only be repeated if this bill is signed into law next week let me assure you.
Government representatives and elected officials have a legal and constitutional duty to protect the civil and human rights of ALL people despite those people’s lifestyles, skin color, gender, gender preference, religion, or anything else. Democratic government simply cannot chose which people to protect and which people to persecute as such behavior by government typically happens in non-democratic governments rooted in tyranny and dictatorship. Surely, Arizona does not pride itself nor does the state which to be viewed by others as one that supports tyranny or persecution of any kind. Yet, the reputation Arizona is creating by its own hand is alarming to say the least. The state is getting the reputation of being run by a government bent on oppression, tyranny, and discrimination. Growing numbers of people are beginning to conclude that Arizona is a state cares nothing for civil or human rights and that reputation goes far beyond worries that SB 1062 might cause the state yet another black eye.
I cannot help but wonder why state legislators are not far more concerned with job creation and growing Arizona’s economy more-so than they are with consistently enacting bills and laws that are clearly racist, sexist, and discriminatory. Further, first it was Hispanics and now its gays that are the targets of the state legislature. So what group is next? Religious minorities? The Disabled or Marginalized? Who is the next target of a legislature that clearly has chosen to support discrimination and violate basic human and civil rights?
I strongly urge Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer to VETO SB 1062 so that it never sees the light of day as a state law. Her signature enacting this archaic bill supporting hatred and discrimination will only serve to let the nation and the world know beyond any doubt that there is something VERY WRONG in Arizona. It is astounding that in this 21st Century is appears Arizona is stil trying to live in a pre-1960s, pre-Civil Rights Movement era. With this kind of mentality in the state it should be no surprise that corporations avoid basing themselves in the state along with other industries. Google Fiber is the latest big corporation that may base itself in Arizona and create hundreds of good paying jobs for people in Arizona. However, after passage of this bill I strongly suspect they may be reconsidering their decision as no corporation wants to be associate with a state that is so clearly racist and sexist.
There are those in Arizona who oppose gay marriage and there are those who support it and this is essentially what SB 1062 is aimed at. Yet, Arizona voters have already voted for an amendment to the state’s constitution forbidding gay marriage so how much more is needed? I see no purpose whatsoever why this bill was even considered by legislators and I am both shocked an appalled that it even made it to the floor much-less passed and now sits on the Governor’s desk! As a result there is a growing outrage and outcry against Arizona once again and the Governor has even decided to sign or veto the legislation. Clearly the Arizona legislature has greatly offended not only gay people but growing numbers of people including business owners across the country. The wisest thing to do at this point is for the legislature to repeal this ridiculous bill ASAP and attempt to save what face they can for Arizona. I really don’t think Arizona needs to promote its reputation as a backward, anti-human rights state.
It’s time for Arizona’s good-ole-boys and gals to move into the 21st Century and out of the 1800s. Arizona could be such a strong national leader but sadly it has chosen not to be. Arizona could be a beacon for human and civil rights and have a fantastic growing economy but, sadly, this seems to be NOT what government in Arizona desires. Instead they’ve chosen the opposite which I don’t understand at all. Arizona has many good things to offer but when people see things like SB 1062 they have second thoughts and want nothing to do with such an entity. Thus, the state, the economy, and all residence of the state suffer. The days of fostering hatred and discrimination in ANY form must be ended today. Hate never achieves anything worthwhile. Discrimination only serves to make a group of people into second class citizens and deny them their God-Given human rights. I strongly urge Governor Brewer to immediately VETO SB 1062 as signing such an archaic act into law will only create problems for the state which none of us can yet imagine especially in terms of the economy and civil rights.
Juan Roberto Rojas-Peron, Editor & Commentator, Sonora Del Norte Press