SB 1062 Was the Best Thing to Happen for Arizona's LGBT Community

Within hours of Arizona's Republican-dominated Legislature's approving a measure that established a legal defense for business owners to discriminate based on a "sincerely held religious belief," thousands of gay-rights advocates flocked to the lush green lawn at the state Capitol in Phoenix.

It was February 21, and they united to demand that Governor Jan Brewer veto Senate Bill 1062, the so-called "Religious Freedom" bill.

Someone in the pack of protesters yelled: "What do we want?!"

Daniel Fishel
Protesters gather at the Capitol hours after lawmakers approved an anti-gay measure.
Monica Alonzo
Protesters gather at the Capitol hours after lawmakers approved an anti-gay measure.

"Equal rights!" the congregation shouted back.

"When do we want it?"

"Right now!"

The verbal volley continued, as did rousing impromptu speeches.

See also: SB 1062: The Fallout and the Key Players

"You have states in this country that recognize same-sex marriage . . . and what does Arizona do? We go backward in time!" Senator Steve Gallardo roared into the crowd surrounding him. "It is time for us to send a loud message to every member in the Legislature [who] voted for these hateful bills . . . We are not going to stand around and watch this type of discrimination . .  . targeting the LGBT community."

Protesters gathered at the Capitol daily to decry what quickly was dubbed anti-gay legislation.

Brewer's veto didn't come until February 26 — and as she pondered her decision, Arizona was publicly shamed daily by news outlets and political pundits across the country and internationally. Even right-wing commentators on Fox News called the bill "political overreach" and likened it to old Jim Crow laws in the South that discriminated against African Americans.

It didn't take much political courage for Brewer to reject the powerful lobby of the religious right. She was urged to do so by fellow Republicans (including both of Arizona's U.S. senators), faced the state's potential loss of the Super Bowl in 2015, and received extreme pressure from the business community, including from corporate giants like Apple, the National Football League, Verizon, and American Airlines.

At the end of the day, Brewer did not publicly buy claims that business owners' religious freedoms were jeopardized.

"Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I've not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner's religious liberties has been violated," Brewer stated at a press conference, moments after her veto. "The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences."

Outside, as word of Brewer's veto spread across the lawn, jubilant cheers erupted from the throng of protesters — they shed tears, embraced, and pumped fists in the air.


Although the proposed law never identified any specific group by name, its timing and testimony from advocates left no doubt about the bill's intention.

Consider that it was first rolled out in 2013 on the heels of Phoenix's expanding a city law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity.

(Brewer unceremoniously vetoed that state bill, not on its merits, but over a political fight with her Republican cohorts in the Legislature.)

Lawmakers justifying the resurrected bill cited a handful of incidents across the country in which business owners were sued for refusing to provide services to gay couples. One notable case was that of a New Mexico photographer who refused to take pictures of a gay commitment ceremony because, she said, it violated her religious convictions.

A human relations commission in that state determined that the photographer engaged in discrimination against the couple and ordered her to pay their attorney fees of nearly $7,000. The courts upheld the commission's findings, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet determined whether to hear the case.

Such poster cases sparked conservative lawmakers to introduce bills similar to Arizona's in other states, including Idaho, Kansas, South Dakota, Oregon, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

Gay-rights advocates and sympathetic community leaders have worked tirelessly to capitalize on the furor wrought by the right-wingers.

For instance, Why Marriage Matters Arizona, a public education campaign to grow support for gay marriage, is reminding metro Phoenix that even though SB 1062 is dead, same-sex couples are "still not free."

Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit against Arizona on behalf of several same-sex couples challenging that the state does not permit same-sex couples to marry, nor does it recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

Gay-rights organizers are planning a rally at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Sandra Day O'Connor Courthouse, and community activists are mulling ballot initiatives to establish the same civil rights protections for gays, lesbians, and transgenders that other Arizonans already enjoy.

It will not be an easy battle in Arizona, a state whose voting majority always has relished draconian laws, such as SB 1070, written to have the effect of driving out unwanted undocumented immigrants without regard to U.S.-born family members left behind.

At the same time, state lawmakers have rejected anti-discrimination measures that would protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. They've let languish several bills aimed at strengthening anti-bullying laws. And some legislators have directly targeted transgenders with proposals to make it a crime for them to use public bathrooms befitting their sexual identities.

Indeed, with bills like SB 1062, they have attempted to provide legal cover for business owners, doctors, attorneys, and counselors who want to refuse service to gays simply because they are gay.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
therazorsedge555
therazorsedge555

"Lawmakers justifying the resurrected bill cited a handful of incidents across the country in which business owners were sued for refusing to provide services to gay couples. One notable case was that of a New Mexico photographer who refused to take pictures of a gay commitment ceremony because, she said, it violated her religious convictions."

It's called freedom of speech. Business owners are free to exercise it as long as they do not discriminate against employees. It was portrayed as an anti- LBGT law by people who like to shove federal authority in everyone's asses to force THEIR agenda. 

Bhattacharya
Bhattacharya

It's gay/lesbian groups who have been pushing Laramie Project and the movie Milk in public schools. Methew Wayne Shepard does not deserve hero worship . Do you see something wrong with what Harvey B. Milk did to that 16 year old boy in 1964? There are ugly truths of who gay icons Methew Wayne Shepard and Harvey B. Milk were. Being a murder victim doesn’t change that. I read Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez about Methew Wayne Shepard. The book discloses ugly truths of who the victim was-most of it old news such as him being a junky (old news), but the new information is that the victim was a drug dealer. Stephen Jimenez who is gay interviewed over 100 witnesses and found ugly truths about the victim. While Stephen Jimenez has a pro-gay bias and tried to be sympathetic to the victim, he wrote ugly truths including in Shepard's family.


-Metthew W. Shepard was himself a victim of child molestation and when Metthew W. Shepard was 15 years old, he was arrested for molesting 2 neighborhood 8 year old boys-M.W. Shepard got counseling for it.


M.W. Shepard in August 1998 (2 months before his death) attempted indecent exposure on a Cody bartender and bartender defended himself by decking M.W. Shepard. The next day, M.W. Shepard falsely accused the bartender of homosexual gang rape. When medical tests disproved M.W. Shepard, the excuse Methew W. Shepard gave to cops was that he was drunk, had PTSD and could not remember. M.W. Shepard was also once banned from a bar after a drunk M.W. Shepard committed assault and battery on the bouncer by grabbing bouncer’s crotch against will. M.W. Shepard should have been arrested and convicted by jury for those 2 incidents.


-M.W. Shepard knew his killer A.J. McKinney and there are witnesses who saw both of them together numerous almost a year before he was killed. M.W. Shepard had a secret life as a drug courier/dealer. You don’t always know the secrets friends and family have. If a person is a drug dealer, then they are usually not going to tell their friends and family that they do this. 


But for me, him being killed and why he was killed is a minor topic. While gay groups complain about Stephen Jimenez saying the murder case is complicated and possibly not a hate crime, I think that is incidental-main reason gay groups are offended by Stephen Jimenez’s book is because he talked about the ugly truths about who M.W. Shepard was. The weak criticism people make is that Stephen Jimenez interviewed drug dealers, junkies, and that he went into bars where drugs were sold, to learn about M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer. That is a weak criticism because that is who Stephen Jimenez would have to interview to learn this. M.W. Shepard being a junky is old news as he had told his friends such as Tina LaBrie about his drug problems and M.W. Shepard’s lover Tristan (Ted) Henson admits that M.W. Shepard used drugs and that he knew 1 of his killers. M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer was something he likely kept secret from his friends and family because honestly, if a person is selling drugs, they usually aren’t going to tell their friends and family that they commit this crime. Even if Metthew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly truth about him, as they had tried to hide the fact that M.W. Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for it.

Bhattacharya
Bhattacharya

Even if orientation doesn’t change, it’s best for gays/lesbians to be celibate just as it’s best for a person with tobacco orientation not to smoke. Behavior including sexual behavior can be learned. If a boy is homosexually raped repeatedly, it’s more likely he will do gay conduct in adulthood because sex abuse damaged his mind and caused him to behave in ways he wouldn’t. If the boy had not been molested, then it’s less likely he would do gay conduct in adulthood. While they have not conclusively proven same sex behaviors are genes-if that is true, it would be same as alcoholic gene. There are people who become alcoholics because they learn becoming drunkards by seeing this, emulating and getting addicted. Then some people are alcoholics because they have alcoholic gene. It’s undebatable truth that if a person’s a victim of childhood sex abuse, then it’s more likely he or she will do gay/lesbian conduct repeating what he learned-those who deny are either dishonest, delusional or both. There could be possibly be genes, but if that’s true then the gay gene would be the same thing as heart attack gene. There is more than 1 cause for why a conduct happens.


Gerald (Jerry) A. Sandusky is a gay pedophile because he did homosexual relations with young boys though he was also married to a woman. The priests who molest young boys are gay pedophiles. If a man has sex with little girls only, then he is a straight pedophile. You didn’t say anything I haven’t already thought about. Rush H. Limbaugh’s right when he said Jerry A. Sandusky is gay-a gay pedophile and columnist Patrick J. Buchanan condemns who he calls gay priests who molest young boys. Those priests are again gay pedophiles, pederasts or homolesters.

Bhattacharya
Bhattacharya

Homosexual/lesbian conduct is bad for health as smoking is and needs to be marginalized like smoking is. Gays and lesbians are a group based on behavior and thus should have the same rights as adults who use tobacco. If knowing and willing adults want to do gay/lesbian conduct & not harass others, then it’s their life but it needs to be treated like tobacco use by adults. If homosexual/lesbian conduct and tobacco use were to disappear eventually, then it’s fine with me and I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.  Mutilating people to make them fake opposite sex members is a sad science waste. I also support abolishing vasectomies, tubal ligations and breast implants, I support birth control such as condoms, pills but am against sterilization surgeries. I oppose breast implants because they are fake (excludes reconstruct surgeries for women who have had breast disease). If a woman has naturally nice big boobs as singer Katy E. Perry has (she is listed as DD but there are women with bigger boobs than her), then that is good. There is nothing wrong with a woman having small boobs. Most men want a woman with natural boobs-small, medium or big vs. a woman with fake boobs.


I would limit Viagra in most cases because those are performance enhancers. If a man is let’s say 25 years old and in a wheelchair, then I support him using Viagra to have sex with his wife or girlfriend and have kids with her because there’s a use to it. But I am against Viagra or any other sexual enhancement drug for old men because that’s like giving steroids to a nfl player after he has passed his prime. I would also be against giving Viagra and sexual enhancement drugs to homosexuals. So yes, I would limit Viagra or other sexual enhancement drug to straight men who are under 40 years old with a handicap to that they can father children. So I would limit Viagra or other sexual enhancement drug to straight men who are under 40 years old with a handicap to that they can father children which below a certain age it’s medicine, but after a certain age it’s performance enhancers comparable to Steroids as Viagra, Zestra are.I support fertility treatments and I support In Vitro Fertilization. While I’m neutral on abortion, I’m against sterilizations. There’s birth control such as the pill, condoms & old fashioned Rhythm Method. Sterilization surgeries however are mutilations. Unless it’s a hysterectomy to save a life, they must make it a crime to do sterilizations. Sterilizations are spaying & neutering people. Also they make less attractive. All things=, if you have an intact woman vs. a woman who has been spayed, most men would take the intact woman. Same thing with a man who is intact vs. a man who has had a vasectomy, most women would choose the intact man.


Finally, sex change maimings which is mutilating some1 to make them fake members of opposite sex is comparable to trying to make a man a fake animal because he thinks he is an animal trapped in a human body. Most feminists are not speaking against this. 1 would hope that feminists would oppose the mutilation that happened to Chastity Sun Bono as feminists have spoken against Female Genital Mutilation which happens in some nations. Transexuals are mutilations which no Dr. should take part in, yet most feminists are not condemning this female genital and breast mutilation as what happened to Chastity S. Bono where her healthy breasts were mutilated, dangerous hormone shots and her genitals mutilated.

ob1coyote
ob1coyote

"thousands of gay-rights advocates flocked to the lush green lawn at the state Capitol in Phoenix"

Thousands.... Really? Should I expect everything else you write to be inflated by a factor of 10?

1062 was dumb. Typical politicians trying to manufacture votes by jumping on the bandwagon.

Every business owner has the right to refuse service to ANYONE for ANY REASON. Which means you don't have to (and if you're smart you won't) give a reason.

monte66683
monte66683

@therazorsedge555  Look, the fact is that businesses already have the right to refuse service to anyone. This bill would have made it legal for them to justify it as protecting their "religious freedom." In other words, it would have legitimized segregation towards a certain group of people and African-Americans have already fought that fight.  

Sure, you could say that it was portrayed as anti-gay by the LGBT community but single mother could have came forth as well as anyone who has cheated on their spouse and said the same thing; and there's a few more examples. It's no secrete that this bill was aimed primarily at the LGBT community.


Therefore, sir, your argument is invalid.


 
Phoenix Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...