Saturday, February 22, 2014

What does Arizona's Bill Really Mean?

By now most of you have heard about Arizona's disgusting new discrimination bill (HB2153). Do you know what it says? If you're thinking it's a slap in the face to the LGBT Nation you only have half the story. It's actually much worse.

When the reports came out on Friday that it targeted LGBT people "and others" I went on a search for the definition of "others"...and then my jaw hit the desk. While it's being reported in the press that it targets LGBTs that's not what the bill really says. I quote:

"...the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief..."

That's the heart of it. You don't see anything anywhere in the text of the bill that says LGBT because it doesn't stop with LGBT. The bill is a blanket approval to refuse service to anyone of which your religion disapproves. Black, white, atheist, Chinese, Muslim, women, gays, transgender, Hispanic, etc. If you've ever run across a hate group hiding being religious dogma this is their get out of jail free card. They will be legally allowed to discriminate against ANYONE as long as they can prove such action complies with their chosen religion.

This isn't about the LGBT Nation. It's about everyone. Muslims can refuse service to Christians. Catholics can refuse service to gays. A Mormon pharmacist can refuse to fill the HIV prescription of a client because they assume that client is gay based on the ignorant conclusion that only gays have HIV. The doctor of a single woman can refuse to prescribe birth control because the doctor's religion doesn't condone sex before marriage. Are you getting the picture?

The bill makes no provision for life threatening situations. You can be turned away from a religiously owned medical center because the church behind it has rules about only serving people of which their dogma approves. Will it clash with other laws already in place? Sure, but that won't come up until it's brought to court and by then it's too late.

Any idiotic concept you've ever heard the teabaggers and other conservative politicians express will be law in Arizona. Whether you're gay, transgender, straight, white, black or purple this bill can be tossed in your face. Arizona legislators have just given groups like that nasty little sign-holding faux religion the sort of credibility they crave and I wouldn't be surprised to see them move their headquarters somewhere more likely to tolerate their Phoenix. 

Will the law stand? Not a chance. Eventually it will be struck down as a blatant violation of constitutional rights but until then it's no longer the twenty-first century in Arizona. The state that is known for its large population of Latter Day Saints and rednecks has managed to do what no other state could do...get a law all the way to the Governor's desk that not only condones but encourages bigotry and open hatred.

If you haven't contacted Governor Jan Brewer to weigh in on the issue I urge to you speak up. Chattering to each other on Facebook and Twitter does nothing. This is one of those times when you need to put your keyboard where your mouth is and talk to the only person able to stop this madness before it begins. She hasn't signed the bill into law yet. We still have time but not much.

As always, regardless of how pissed you are, respectful language goes a lot farther than screaming hatred. Say what you mean but be diplomatic. A simple "please veto HB2153" will suffice.

Twitter: @GovBrewer
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