There has been a lot of hype all around the country discussing Arizona’s SB 1062. This bill would grant discrimination abilities to companies as if they were people. This means the companies could refuse to serve anyone they find morally objectionable, such as gay people, or those of other religions. You can read one interpretation of the law in the LA Times.
This law is just bad. It’s a poorly considered bill. The law-makers who passed it failed to consider the reactions of people and businesses all over the state. This is a surprising bill to pass here, despite Arizona’s conservative majority. This is because Arizona has the fifth largest LGBTQQ community in the country. LGBTQQ legends including George Takei are speaking out and threatening to boycott the state. For Mr. Takei, this is a strong statement, since Brad – his husband – was born in Phoenix, and they vacation here regularly. You can read his letter to the State on CNBC.
Also, businesses all over the country are defiantly denouncing the bill. The Daily Beast covered the about-face that several Republican law-makers have made following the overwhelming response from the strongly united business communities. The current political outcry in Arizona is a forceful weight on Governor Brewer to veto the bill without consideration. Since she is abroad, she has not begun her review of the bill, which will likely take several days.
Now that I’ve covered everyone else’s positions, I’d like to remind everyone that I think bills like this are unnecessary. The State shouldn’t protect or deny businesses rights to screw themselves out of business. Let communities destroy the businesses who make the mistake of alienating rich, powerful, outspoken, and influential members of their community. If the businesses in question make the mistake of discriminating, they will send a clear message to the community – a suicide note. You can read about my past thoughts on similar cases of discrimination here.
I hope Brewer strikes down this bill. It doesn’t protect religious freedoms, as it claims. Instead, it takes away a community’s ability to respond the way they want. In my opinion, that is the true restriction of freedom. Too many laws are just that – too many. It is my hope that bills like this will be laughed out of the Capitol before consideration in the future, but I know that I’m dreaming a bit there. Right now, all we can do is wait for Brewer to step up to the plate and make her decision.
Update: Brewer vetoed the bill! You can see some of her comments on Advocate.