Sitting on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s desk and waiting to be signed is†Senate Bill 1062, legislation that would allow businesses and individuals to refuse to serve members of the gay community, supposedly based on religious conviction. This heinous law has provoked a heavy backlash, some of which have been outstanding. Here are just a handful of those reactions.
1. George Takei Threatens to Boycott Arizona
In what has been dubbed a “scathing” open letter, actor, campaigner and social media star George Takei has threatened to boycott Arizona over its law. And where Takei goes, so goes the Internet.
The letter begins:
Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses — even those open to the public Ė to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individualís “sincerely held religious belief.” This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us.
Takei goes on to call out Arizona for this bill which he (rightly) equates to a Jim Crow law:
You say this bill protects “religious freedom,” but no one is fooled. When I was younger, people used “God’s Will” as a reason to keep the races separate, too. Make no mistake, this is the new segregation, yours is a Jim Crow law, and you are about to make yourself ground zero.
Takei then hits Arizona where it hurts: the wallet. He says should the bill become law, there will be a boycott of Arizona:
If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know — from large corporations to small families on vacation — to boycott. Because you donít deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.
And maybe you just never learn. In 1989, you voted down recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday, and as a result, conventions and tourists boycotted the state, and the NFL moved the Superbowl to Pasadena. That was a $500 million mistake.
2. Pizzeria Offers Most Hilarious Jab at Arizona Lawmakers
Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tuscon has decided on a new admissions policy and it has set social media tongues wagging. The restaurant posted the following image to its Facebook page last week shortly after it was announced that lawmakers had passed the right to discriminate bill:
The picture has quickly gone viral, with people from across the globe flooding in with their messages of support.
Owner Rocco DiGrazia is quoted as saying he is appalled at the legislation and that†”The sentiment is that any expansion of discrimination is gonna hurt everybody and open the doors for more.” However, he’s keen to downplay this as political advocacy, saying on Facebook: “Funny how just being decent is starting to seem radical these days.”
3. Out Musician Tells Arizona We’r’e “Not Going Anywhere”
Musician Eric Himan, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native, is no stranger to using his music for good causes. He has previously written tracks that took aim at Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and even created a song dedicated to Malala Yousafzai. Now, Himan has set his sights on fighting Arizona’s Turn Away the Gay bill with a song called “Not Going Anywhere Tonight,” which he has performed up and down the country and has now recorded on vieo.
The lyrics send a very clear message of protest, reading in part:
“You can try to kick me out, but you can’t force me back in
the way you’re treating me and my friends, honey I call that sin
You want this land for your own, as if you grew right from the trees
but you can’t silence those who you think pose,
a threat to faith or greed
What’s been stolen can’t be claimed
What’s been written can’t be used to tame.
I can run pretty fast
I can drive all night long
with a big ol’ pile of money
I can fly from here to Rome
But I never asked for trouble
in Jesus’ name you wanna fight
you choose to hate a choice I never made
so I’m not going anywhere tonight.”
Watch the video below:
Himan is dedicating all proceeds from the song to fighting SB 1062. You can find more details at Himan’s website here.
4. Arizona Congressional Senators Decry the Bill
While Arizona Senator John McCain may have been on the wrong side of history on DADT, he has always had a moderate streak when it comes to businesses and discrimination rights.
In that vein, McCain has spoken out against the bill, saying in a simple message on Twitter:
I hope Governor Brewer will veto #SB1062
Junior Arizona Senator Jeff Flake posted a similar message to his own Twitter account.
These might be simple statements that hardly speak to the ills of the legislation. That said, however, they do carry weight and add to the growing pressure on Brewer to veto the legislation.
Meanwhile, John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, considered by many young moderates as a leader in the young Republican ranks, had hit out with much stronger message, calling the bill a step backward:
“It is embarrassing, it is backwards, it is the absolute last thing this state needs, and I am horrified, horrified at the legislators that passed that [bill],” she is quoted as saying. “When you have bills like this, it makes me not want to come home. I am born and raised in Arizona — [a] proud Arizonan — and my father is a senator there, and I just don’t understand.”
While not from Arizona, Mitt Romney–whose pandering to the religious conservative Tea Party probably helped lose him the presidential election–has also tweeted against the bill. It appears there is a line, and this bill crosses it.
5. Senators Who Originally Voted for the Bill Now Want Brewer to Veto It
Class this one as brilliant stupidity: three state lawmakers who voted for the bill have now sent Governor Jan Brewer a letter asking her to veto the legislation.
“We feel it was a solution in search of a problem,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, is quoted as saying. He is joined by Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, and Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix. They are, though, essentially blaming the gays for “mischaracterizing” the bill, with the letter quoted as saying: “While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”
The letter also notes that Arizona businesses, including the Arizona Chamber of Commercem are against the bill, as are many Arizonan citizens who feel this legislation is a step too far.
So, what does Governor Brewer make of the bill? Despite reports that she’s said she’ll veto, Brewer’s office maintains she is still considering the controversial legislation, with a decision due by the end of the week.
While it is true that Brewer is no friend to the gay community, she has vetoed similar bills in the past and did so last year, but that was before the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act Section 3 and a number of other rulings in favor of gay rights over discrimination. As with much in Arizona politics, which way she will decide to go with the bill, sadly, remains unclear.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.