Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arizona's Shame

When then state of Arizona passed a stringent and unfair immigration law in 2010 Eugene Robinson  of the Washington Post described it this way:"Arizona's draconian new immigration law is an abomination -- racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust."

Well, Arizona's legislators are at it again, this time with a law allowing any business to refuse service to gays and lesbians. If that seems impossible, sadly it isn't. What makes it worse, people are allowed to do so if they state they are doing so based on their religious convictions.

What immediately came to mind are the laws which existed in many US states which allowed businesses including lunch counters to refuse service to people of colour. We were reminded in the film The Butler what it was like for those who ignored those laws. The governor has finally decided to veto this bill, after considerable pressure, but what would have happened in Arizona if this law is ratified by the governor. Would police have been called to arrest and haul away gays and lesbians who refuse to be refused? Surely this is unconstitutional?

What sickens me is that religion is being used as a shield for this travesty. We're not talking about what happens within a religious community with its stated expectations and rules for members. We might not agree with these rules, but we don't have to belong to that church or synagogue or mosque. But if the guy at the corner store makes a judgment call about someone's sexual orientation does he now have a right to refuse service and hide behind his interpretation of the bible? It feels as though the state is determined to crawl back into the dark ages of racism and discrimination. I shudder to think that some pastors will be delighting in this decision and supporting it from their pulpits.

I love that some stores have being stating clearly that they find this new law offensive and discriminatory. It's just hard to believe that it has come to this point.



John crawford said...

Its funny you posted this in Bancroft we had a similar episode this summer
A gay couple chanced into a old established restaurnt to come accross a sig which had been hanging on the wall for a few years saying they believed in adam and eve not adam and steve they were offended and voiced there displeasure and were told if they didnt like the sign they could leave which they did . another couple went in asking the sign to come down and were refused service. there was public outcry the sign did come down but the owners stuck to there guns saying it was there belief that homosexuality was wrong . this became a tempest in a teapot as gay activest form out side the community decided to stage a "big Gay Picnic" dipite the gay community of bancroft did not want to go tothis extreme and deal with the issue in house as you say. this exercise actually hurt some feeling of allies of the gay community as the organizer discounted our support saying we didnt have the right to understand the trail that they go thru. /so what came out of this the restaurnt owners who were entitled to there opinion (not a popular view allbeit) got there say and the LGBTQIA community got there say and allies of the LGBTQIA got shut down but did get there say in an indirectway so disturbing as Rodney King once said "why cant we all just get along"

Judy Mcknight said...

I am afraid that we live in a crazy, intolerant world !