Oh Arizona. You just couldn’t let Kansas have all the bigotry fun, could you?
If you haven’t been paying attention, the Republican-controlled Senate and House in Arizona have passed legislation (SB 1062) that would allow anyone claiming a “sincerely held” religious belief to discriminate against anyone they choose (notably LGBT individuals) in any “action or refusal to act.”
To be honest, this is even scarier than various media outlets are making it out to be. Any “action or refusal to act” means the nebulous claim of “but I really believe…” can actually supersede “the enforcement of state action.” Just the claim of a religious belief could actually trump state laws designed to protect the public. It means a “religious” doctor could allow an unmarried pregnant woman to die in front of him, because he sincerely doesn’t agree with sex outside of marriage. It means Catholic bank managers could refuse loans to divorcees. It means Muslim men could refuse access or services to any woman not wearing a burka.
This bill gives an awful lot of leeway to cry “religion!” when actively seeking to harm someone who doesn’t adhere to your specific religious doctrine. Of course, when you put it that way, it sounds a bit like sharia law.
The bill is in flux at the moment as the nation waits anxiously to find out whether everyone’s favorite hexenbiest Jan Brewer will sign it into law.
To be honest, I hope Brewer does sign it. I hope she signs it and it gets challenged all the way to the Supreme Court. I hope Arizona loses millions if not billions in tax dollars and business revenue and tourist income. I hope the Supreme Court strikes this down on the basis of equal protection, which then sets the precedent for marriage equality in Arizona. In short, I hope this epically backfires and the bigoted, hateful monsters trying to destroy Arizona end up being the catalyst for actual progress in the state.