The Arizona legislature has passed a bill and sent it to Gov. Jan Brewer legalizing religious bigotry. Kansas has already enacted such legislation and Rep. Gordon Denlinger of Lancaster County has introduced a similar bill in Harrisburg. Religious zealots are angry that they can no longer openly discriminate against people they don’t like without legal ramifications so they’re touting their right to religious freedom so they can legally discriminate against folks like me. Unfortunately what they don’t understand is that their rights when when they begin to infringe upon mine.
This is a slippery slope and the new law would apply to many others, including those who passed the bill. There’s nothing in it which is specific so when a majority of Arizonans are comprised of Native Americans, Hispanics and LGBT people these very angry white men could see themselves becoming the victims of their own law. That would be karmic.
Who is to say, for example, that my or another’s atheistic beliefs motivate us to bomb or burn churches and other religious institutions? That would be perfectly legal under this law. Under this law people wanting to use peyote could do so without fear of arrest. Of course the real reason for this legislation is so business owners won’t have to cater to gay and lesbian couples wanting to get married and buy wedding cakes, photographs, receptions and what not for their nuptials. Why would they think I’d support a homophobic businessman anyway?
However once you enter into a public domain with your enterprise you are required to accept any legitimate customer who happens by. As of today though many states still allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers. This includes Pennsylvania. I could be refused service in any restaurant in the Commonwealth. Of course I don’t eat where I’m not welcome anyway (Chick Fil-A).
The Arizona law will be bad for business and bad for the state. We’re planning a summer trip to the Grand Canyon while staying in Santa Fe this August. I won’t go if this law is signed by Gov. Brewer. Businesses openly discriminating will discover it is bad for business. Hopefully Arizona’s economy will stutter and regress if the Governor signs this bill. Three state Senators who voted for the legislation are now opposing it after discovering it will harm the state’s businesses. Where was their due diligence before they voted? I think their personal bigotry got in the way of their brains operating. This seems to be the Arizona way.