Arizona has made quite a name for itself in recent years, being the infamous state that passed the toughest anti immigration bill, SB 1070, in 2010, causing an uproar, and eventually having several major provisions of the law being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, while keeping some parts of the controversial law, and hurting Arizona tourism and public image irrevocably.
Now Governor Jan Brewer has until Tuesday to decide whether to sign a new anti gay law, that allows all public services to be denied gay and lesbian people, if the people providing the services choose not to deal with them on religious grounds. Business owners could declare their opposition to homosexuality, and refuse to give service to such customers.
Such a law is unconstitutional and reprehensible, as one’s religious beliefs do not and should not include the right to discriminate against anyone!
If such a law was to be upheld, it would, effectively, make gays and lesbians second class citizens, a sexual “apartheid”, a group that would be denied public services on the basis of someone claiming to be a “good” Christian, when there is absolutely no way that the teachings of Jesus Christ could be interpreted as promoting hate and prejudice against ANYONE!
If this could be allowed, then why not refuse services to Jews, African Americans, Latinos, disabled people, women, the elderly, etc? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be upended, precisely 50 years after its passage!
Anyone can be anti gay, or anti African American, or anti Jewish, or anti Latino, etc in their THOUGHTS, as no one can control that, but NO ONE should EVER be able to use religious orthodoxy to discriminate, mistreat, condemn in their public activities regarding such people!
If one wishes to work with the public, one MUST serve ALL Of the public, whether one likes it or not!
Otherwise, imagine the tow truck driver who will not give service to a driver who has a flat tire; or the pharmacist who will not give service to a customer for a prescription; or the nurse who will not give medical services in a hospital to a customer on religious grounds; or the gas station attendant who will not allow a person to buy gasoline; or any business owner in any type of store dealing with the public who refuses service, including the much discussed cake maker who will not bake a cake for a gay couple (but could also be a Jewish couple, or a interracial couple)!
Realize also that many “straight” people could be wrongfully tagged as being gay or lesbian. There are people who may seem effeminate in gesture or voice who are NOT gay or lesbian. There are people who may dress a certain way that makes some people think they are gay or lesbian. There could two men or two women, with or without kids, who some might think are gay and lesbian, but are not. The fact that a majority of gay men and women do not “act” gay or lesbian (whatever that prejudicial feeling is supposed to be), makes the whole idea of discrimination even more outrageous and despicable!
This is not the Russian Federation, nor Nigeria, nor Uganda, all nations where right wing evangelicals have campaigned to pass anti gay laws! It is the United States of America, and we cannot tolerate ANY such prejudice or mistreatment in the United States!
Any professional, as in medicine, for instance, who would refuse to serve anyone on the basis of religion, should have his or her license to practice taken away, as he or she is violating the Hippocratic Oath to serve all people!
This is a time to crack down and make clear that there will be NO tolerance of any prejudice or discrimination by anyone, that it will lead to legal action, prosecution, and punishment within the limits of the law!
There is no room for bigotry in American, based on so called religious principles, in America in the year 2014 and beyond! It is time to crack down once and for all!