(Editor's note: A short time ago - about 6 p.m. MST - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer veteod SB 1062.)
On Thursday, the Arizona state Legislature passed SB 1062 – a bill that would allow business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers (among others) on the grounds that the owner’s religious rights would be violated in serving the customer.
The chance that if signed into law large corporations and businesses would dare embrace this clear form of discrimination is slim to none. But all other business owners throughout the state would be free to hide behind his or her faith to single out individuals whose sexual orientation is different from his or hers.
Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself why I am once again mentioning the Grand Canyon State in my column.
For starters – and I hate to say it – Arizona has become somewhat of a joke in the world of politics. On top of that, our neighbor to the southeast has done nothing but be a source of humiliation and disappoint for numerous residents, non-residents and those who have seen what good the state does have to offer.
But primarily, I bring up AZ’s latest political faux paux because of two little words: Proposition 8.
In case you forgot, it was only a mere (almost) six years ago that residents of California celebrated in the streets following the state’s Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples "have a constitutional right to marry." All was good, especially in the Bay Area, where the number of LGBTQ individuals outnumbers any other metropolitan area in the U.S.
But before some couples could say “I do,” they were blindsided by our own Religious Right when a ballot initiative – Prop 8 – surprisingly passed in the November 2008 elections. As a result, this safeguard of marriage between a man and a woman overturned the California Supreme Court's previous ruling.
It took five, long years before supporters of same-sex marriage saw justice when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Prop 8 last June.
Now Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer must make the final decision: Stand with her Republican, right-wing family or do the right thing and veto this absurd bill.
Can the pretense of SB 1062 find a home in California? It could.
Will it? If Gov. Brewer signs it into law in Arizona, most definitely.
Either way, the damage has been done.
There are wolves living in every state across the country dressed in sheep clothing and they want nothing more than to cast their cloak of hate anywhere someone will listen. And because “religious freedom” is the new norm when it comes to touting one’s civil rights, it is not that far of a stretch that the coffers of one or more religious affiliations could be dumped into a similar proposed bill in California.
“Freedom” is a personal liberty afforded to all individuals living in this country. But somehow, those who believe they know the true meaning of unconditional love and equality have hidden behind it as a way to trick their followers into a cloud of hate and deception.
So as the controversy heats up this week in Arizona, remember there are no borders when it comes to what’s right.
Don’t ignore what’s going on next door. For that wolf could blow down our house tomorrow.