Monday, February 24, 2014

New Anti-Gay Laws Promoting "Religious Freedom" Reflect Chutzah, Will Backfire

Arizona looked, at least until today, like it was onthe cusp of enacting a law that basically says if a gay person comes into your shop and your "heartfelt religious convictions" make you not want to serve them, go ahead and throw them out.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is
deciding whether to veto a really
over the top anti-gay bill.  

At first glance, this might seem too bad. Why should business owner have to deal with somebody they don't like?

Well, because you're discriminating against a whole class of citizens, that's why. It's really like the Jim Crow laws back in the 1950s.

Black people don't have a choice other than to be black, so you can't discriminate against that entire class. Gay people, despite the protestations of religious  conservatives and the discredited "ex-gay" types, really can't change their sexual orientation.

And it's a little much to ask gay people to either pretend they are straight or to spend their lives being celibate, just to make adherents of certain religions feel better.  

Arizona's proposal, and similar ones in other conservative states, have come up because same gender, gay marriage is sweeping the nation.  It's legal in 12 states (including Vermont, Yay!, where I live and have been gay married to the wonderful Jeff since August 26, 2012. )

The people who don't like gay marriage are afraid that say, a religious wedding cake baker might be forced to bake a cake for a gay couple who are getting married.

And under anti-discrimination laws in some states, that's entirely possible. Here in Vermont, a bed and breakfast owner got in trouble for declining to host a wedding between two same gender partners, based on the inn owners' religious beliefs.

Contrary to some conservatives' assertions, people aren't going to get thrown in jail for refusing to serve gays, but they might lose civil lawsuits, as the owners of the Vermont bed and breakfast did to the tune of $10,000.

The deal is, if you run a business open to the public, some of your clientele are going to be people you'd rather not associate with.

Unless those people cause a direct disruption to your business, say by shoplifting, disturbing other customers or causing damage your really have to do business with them.

If you don't want your business to serve gays, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and I don't know, purple people from Pluto, then don't have a business that serves the public.

It really does take a lot of gall to say people are being "discriminated" against because they have to live in the same world as people their religion says they should hate.  I don't like, say, Internet trolls, but no matter how much I whine, they're going to exist. Deal with it.

All this is why the Arizona bill, if the state's governor, Jan Brewer, signs it into law, will probably get struck down by the courts.

The people behind the bill surely know that, but are just trying to score political points with their conservative base voters.

Of course the court of public opinion could easily shoot down the law before any federal appeals court event gets to glance at the thing.

It seems most people nowadays either tolerate gays or are fine with them. Most businesses want to have as many happy customers as possible. After all, the point of having a business is to make money and you need customers to do that, right?

That business angle is why a similar bill in Kansas recently got shot down. In Arizona, the state's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, not exactly extreme leftists, urged Brewer to veto the bill. As did the state's two Republican U.S. Senators.

And three of the state legislators who originally voted for the bill now say thir vote was a mistake and want the governor to veto it.
Here's what the Arizona Chamber of Commerce has to say:

"After analyzing the bill, we are very concerned about the effects it would have on Arizona's economy. As leaders in the business community, we cannot support measures that could expose our businesses to litgation, nor do want to send a message that our state is anything but an open and attractive place for visitors and the top talent that will be the cornerstone of our continued economic growth"  

I also think the law, if it's enacted, would backfire on the religious fundamentalists who backed it. What if a business owner said it was against his heartfelt religious belief to serve someone who would discriminate against gay people?

Already, a Tuscon pizzeria put up a tongue in cheek sign saying it reserved the right to not serve lawmakers who supported the bills. 

So,  as is usually the case, when legislators pass laws based on their well, basic bases, and adhere to narrow, ideological world views, the laws don't end up working in their favor.

Which tells me even if Brewer doesn't veto this stupid proposal, it won't last long, even the most conservative corners of Arizona.

The fun part? All those national extreme right wing fundamentalists that goaded the legislature to take this up willl end up looking even more stupid once the bill, or the law dies.

Bummer, dude

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