I’ve watched in total bewilderment as the recent situation in Arizona unfolded. In the past few weeks, we’ve some draconian measures come into force in terms of gay rights and archaic laws adopted in countries around the world but also some breaking down of barriers as gay marriage is accepted in others.
We seem to win some ground in some parts of the world, and lose it in others – but the recent registration in Arizona beggars belief.
Let me give you a layman’s view of this legislation:
Senate bill 1062 was passed by the Republican controlled Arizona legislature last week and would have given Arizona business owners with “sincerely held” religious beliefs the legal right to refuse service to anyone if it would conflict with those beliefs.
Thats it in a nutshell – it gives a business downer carte blanche to refuse service to anyone the owner believes to contravene their ‘sincere’ religious views. The widely held view is that this is aimed at gays and lesbians and the whole marriage question. Cake shops can refuse to deal with the LGBT community on religious grounds, not personal feelings – but who can differentiate between the two? And how do you prove this?
This comes hot on the heels of several high profile law suits in America when services were refused to LGBT couples wishing to purchase goods or services, based mainly on the business owners religious beliefs.
With the new and growing area of LGBT marriage, some businesses are embracing it, as it is a money-spinner in these tough economic times – others seem happy to turn away the business.
Now, once this bill had been passed, and highly advertised through social media with everyone and his tanning salon having an opinion (and quite rightly), we then come to the next amazing turn of events. I swear to god (pun intended) if this turns out to be an ad campaign for Arizona Tourism, it should win awards.
My favourite piece on Facebook this week about this actually quotes one Arizonan as saying that they hadn’t realised that “gays spent money” and the whole issue of it being bad for business hadn’t occurred to them. They actually went on to blame the “gays” for this as we (the gays) should have brought it to their attention before they agreed the legislation!
In what must be a most embarrassing turn of events, the governor for Arizona, a seemingly sensible woman named Jan Brewer has vetoed this bill. The state senators even came out (pardon the pun) against it, stating it would be catastrophic for the state in terms of business, commerce and tourism.
Even big business came out (yes, I did do it again!) against it, with Apple, American Airlines and Marriott trying to tell the state what a mistake it was making! The NFL was said to be investigating shifting the agreed Superbowl away from the state as it feared a backlash.
Even Obama’s regime waded in, stating it trusted in the integrity of the state governor – but also doubted the ability of the bill to hold up in the supreme court!
On behalf of my fellow gays, I apologise for not making the entire state of Arizona aware that we have money and like to spend it. Please be aware that our pink pounds, dollars, euros do actually get used to buy products and services – but not in places that feel they have the right to judge us for what we are. We vote with our very well shod feet honey and go where we are welcomed!
I feel 2014 is going to be an interested and challenging year for human rights everywhere – watch this space!
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.