A License to Discriminate

A veto-worthy Arizona bill would authorize ill-treatment of gay people in the name of religion.

Comments: 228

  1. I hope Ms. Brewer does not veto the bill. Not because I agree with it, quite the opposite --- I think the bill is an insult to America and to Christianity. But by her not vetoing it, it reinforces just how narrow-minded and judgmental the Republicans truly are, further demonstrating the hypocrisy of their so-called "rebranding" efforts.

  2. Personally I find it appalling to imagine people being turned away from a business because they are gay, and I would not favor a law that would allow this. But what if a neo-Nazi couple requested a Jewish photographer to shoot a wedding or celebration featuring swastikas and other Nazi paraphernalia? Should a law allow him to decline? If so, how to sculpt a law that addresses a situation you favor while excluding one you do not?

  3. No, and here's why--There is no law saying that you can't discriminate against people's political beliefs. If I owned a store, I can deny conservatives service all day long.

  4. Being a Nazi sympathizer is not an immutable characteristic (like race, gender, or sexual orientation) that makes one a member of a protected class.

  5. I think we have a false analogy here. But I won't pursue that except to say that gays are born gay, Neo-Nazis become Neo-Nazis by choice.

  6. In the name of redemptive religion, veto that sucker!!

  7. Well, I believe the bill should be vetoed. But even though its supporters express support for the bill in religious terms, would not the actual legal justification for such a law be based on the right of free association? Is so, then this law in my mind is perfectly legitimate. Nonetheless, I hope the bill is vetoed. But I do wonder if the NYT's editorialists realize that legislating, or vetoing morality, either from a religious or secular point of view, can be equally "noxious".

  8. This is not a question of vetoing morality. A person's morality is his or her own business. If dealing in public businesses and places with certain people offends you, you have the right to withdraw from these venues. But when it is used to discriminate, that in itself is the immoral act.

  9. It seems to me free association ends where one declares a function, business, or service to be 'public'.

  10. Sadly, I live in another state - Pennsylvania - where it is legal in most parts of the state to discriminate against LGBT persons in employment and housing. I am proud to live in Abington Township, which took the step of making such discrimination illegal in the Township (as did several other Pennsylvania municipalities).

    I wonder just how restaurants and hotels would decide who is LGBT when they decide whether or not to discriminate. Are two men or two women having dinner together homosexuals, or just having a business dinner? If a suite is rented for two or more men (or women), are they homosexuals or attending a business conference?

    I find this kind of question interesting because one of my sons is gay and the two other sons are straight. One of my straight sons met a couple of his work buddies at a local bar for after-work beers, and the waiter refused to serve them because, he declared, he doesn't serve gays. The people who work at that business now have their after-work beers at another nearby bar, and they advised the manager of the first bar why they wouldn't be back.

    Does the Arizona legislature realize how much this kind of discrimination could hurt tourism, which is a big business in Arizona.

    By the way, I have yet to hear from any person whose marriage was damaged by gays allowing to marry, or from any person whose right to worship was interfered with or harmed by civil rights being granted to LGBT persons.

  11. If you substituted the word "Jew" or "Jewish" for "gay," we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  12. Exactly. .. or African Americans or women.

  13. It seems more than likely that a business will eventually refuse service to someone because of their ethnicity. For example, an adherent of the White Man's Bible could legally refuse to do business with Jews because their religious beliefs are that Jews are the enemy. And the proposed Arizona law would legitimize this outcome.

    Should this type of legislation ever be proposed in my state, Colorado, then I will oppose it. Discrimination is wrong.

    Those individuals who oppose equal rights for gays because it does not comport with their Christian beliefs should leave it to God, and not them, to render judgment.

  14. That would be true only if the florist or bakery refused ALL gay customers, on the basis of their sexual orientation. But likely all these stores are serving gay customers all the time, and continue to do so -- for any and all other occasions, like parties and funerals and Bar Mitvahs and retirement parties, etc.

    The difference is that a gay wedding is not the sole occasion that any gay person might be buying flowers or cakes -- it is just ONE occasion and one that more than half of the public (and more, if the media treated this truthfully) do not recognize. Out of 17 states where gay marriage is now "legal", 14 of them forced gay marriage on the public against their will -- in California, against TWO ballots in favor of keeping traditional marriage.

    The way this law is written, a straight heterosexual mother trying to buy flowers for her gay son's wedding would be denied. The customer is straight and hetero, ergo no discrimination.

  15. Can anyone really insult christanity? Chistopher Hitchens could insult with the best of them; but since he's gone, Christians seem to be doing a pretty good job of making themselves irrelevant by insulting others who do not have their beliefs or who are 'different'. 'My way or the highway' is a deadend for Christianity.

  16. "My way or the highway" has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, whom they claim to emulate. The ignorance in right-wing fundamentalists is astounding.

  17. What is it in the Judeo-Christian tradition that leads to such obnoxious behavior? Its three main religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are constantly in the news for outrageous conduct perpetrated by its fringe elements.

  18. The republicans in this state are a mean-spirited bunch. All but three republican legislators voted for this (and, of course, no democrats voted for it.) Tucson is an island of democracy in a sea of extreme, right-wing republicans. Since the governor cannot run again (term limits), she will probably veto this, not needing the republican votes again. And all the business interests in the state are imploring her to veto. Even a few who voted for it immediately had voter's remorse (after the immediate outcry against it.) There was more of a sense of decency before Janet Napolitano left (thank you for that, President Obama). Not that Arizona has ever been a bastion of even middle-of-the-road politics. After the Newtown, CT tragedy, one of the first bills passed here was to name a "state gun." That's what we live with out here in what they think is still the wild west.

  19. It goes beyond discrimination against gays. It appears to offer a blanket right to exclude or deny access to anyone that does not agree with the business management/owner's religion. We will have, in effect, people encouraged to be religious police, like the Taliban, Saudis, and many christian groups. If asked if I am a christian now I prefer to say "no, I am a southern baptist leaning toward evangelism. If you ain't saved you ain't going to heaven." What happened to Christ's teachings?

  20. Even Kansas couldn't stomach a similar bill. One has to wonder why Arizona, a physically beautiful state, has such toxic and ugly politics.

  21. Let's take this bill to its logical conclusion: Christianity also prohibits adultery. Can a Christian business owner refuse to serve adulterers, in the name of religious freedom? Will wedding caterers now get to ask couples if they slept together before marriage, and then refuse to serve them because that violated the caterer's religious beliefs? Will devout Muslim business owners refuse to serve women whose heads aren't covered? Can Orthodox Jewish proprietors refuse to serve people who don't keep Kosher? This law has nothing to do with religious freedom.

  22. I imagine that as we speak, all of the bad behavior you mention is occurring.

  23. This was an issue back in the 1970s when landlords wouldn't rent to unmarried couples. Laws were enacted to prevent that sort of discrimination, but apparently some parts of the nation have shifted into reverse.

  24. When it comes to social justice, religion, one of the worst inventions of mankind, shoud not enter into the equation. The founding farthers were quite clear in their disdain for religious interferance in the governance of the nation. We should hold true to their beliefs.

  25. Wow! What a spectacular piece of revisionist history! The founding fathers were hardly disdainful of religion, whether interfering in governance or not. Their intention was to protect religion from governmental intrusion, not protect government from religion. Your complete misunderstanding of the founding father's intentions is telling of our educational institutions' diminished capabilities as we march forward into what appears to be an increasingly dystopian future.

    If gay people had not already filed suit against business owners who refused to serve them, I doubt that Evangelical Christians would have sought the protections of this bill. However, that is not the case. Christian moral standards on marriage (and everything else) are under attack as our society moves away from an objective moral standard to a subjective "standard," which is to say, whatever the most outspoken declare to be "fair."

    Whether the Governor vetoes or approves this particular bill, the movement of the culture is in the direction of gay marriage, with polygamy coming up right behind it. As your post well illustrates, the Christians have failed at their most basic responsibility--to make the Word of God relevant to their neighbors. That said, Christianity is not the only religion that finds gay marriage to be anathema. Opposition to gay marriage may yet be the great ecumenical movement of the moment!

  26. Actually the Founding Fathers were quite unclear, and fought with each other over the level to which they would or would not control religion. In the end they compromised on that level that would prevent a national religion, while leaving local practices untouched, hence the mess we are in today. The Civil War was a religious fight as much as it was economic, the South's motto was Deo Vindice, "Under God, our Vindicator.

  27. Mr. Hall, Joe stated "distain" for religious interference not distain for religion. His point hits home as you go on to discuss bigotry against gays as an ecumenical movement; to wit, trying to codify religious beliefs into law and impose them on everybody else! That is exactly what the Founding Fathers feared. What is it about these religious beliefs that cannot stand up to enlightenment that there is a constant movement to codify them into law? Could it be they fade in the light of day.

  28. If the bill passes, then businesses can put up signs saying, "Right Wing Christians Not Welcome Here," on religious grounds.

  29. I know you were being hypothetical, but as a thought experiment it would be interesting to know if such a business would flourish, or go out of business.

  30. Get this straight: a "christian" owner of a convenience store who hates gays cannot refuse to serve them. A Jewish owner of a delicatessen cannot refuse to serve Catholics. Period. Read Katzenbach v. McClung. The Supreme Court told us 50 years ago that if your business is engaged in interstate commerce (that's pretty much every business, no matter how "local"), then discriminating against protected categories of persons violates their rights to equal protection under the law, via the 14th Amendment. Presumably, there is at least one lawyer working for the Governor who knows this. This case has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, and everything to do with unreasoning hatred of human beings who are guilty only of of being "different."

  31. At the same time, nobody should be subject to legal harassment purely for refusing to do business with somebody who turns out to have one of the special badges we are handing out these days. The motives of those who passed this bill are very suspect, but the outcomes for little people who find themselves up against the law regarding discrimination have been very real. The big players don't care very much about regulation: they can usually find a way to do business regardless. It's the little people who don't have the means to protect themselves from being victimized by lawyers.

  32. Sexual orientation is not a protected class. It's also not protected in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

  33. Blessed are those who rejoice in the perversion of the Constitution to serve their ideological ends.

  34. I have always supported same sex marriages and believed that discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation should be illegal. On the other hand, I am opposed to forcing business owners from taking part in an "act" , such as a same sex marriage ceremony, that they find offensive. Forcing to take part in an act is completely different from preventijng discrimination against individuals. My fear is thet we have moved to where the ONLY place Americans have the right to freely exercise their religions in in houses of worship, which means that American DO NOT HAVE a right to freely exercise thier religion. The fact that we have already lost our First Amendment right to the free exercie of religion and all private property rights (see the Kehoe decision) is deeply disturbing and leaves me wondering how long before we the few rights we have left?

  35. If a person's religious sensibilities are so easily offended they shouldn't be doing business with the public, end of story.

  36. I think that the constitutional right of equality trumps religious beliefs. Following your logic, anyone can claim a religious belief to discriminate against just about anyone for any reason claiming "religion". Rights are just not for the few or the select or the "religious".

  37. With respect, forcing someone to perform an act is not a meaningful concept in this debate. The law forces people to act or not to act all the time. That could actually be a fairly decent definition of what a law is--a rule that forces people to act or not act a certain way.

    Everything humans do is an "act." Things that people DON'T do are acts too, in a way--acts of refusal, acts of refraining. Either can be illegal under certain circumstances. Murdering a person is an illegal act. For a teacher, failure to report that a pupil is being molested may be illegal. When you make discrimination illegal, you prohibit certain acts of discrimination (eliminating gay candidates from job applicant pools would be illegal under a law prohibiting anti-gay discrimination) but not others (telling people not to be friends with John because John is gay would be legal). And you prohibit "inactions of discrimination" (refusal to serve gays in a restaurants) but not others (refusal to shake hands with a gay person).

    That's called living under the rule of law. Deal with it.

  38. Just another example of how making one's religious beliefs a public rather than private matter is corrosive and counter to civility.

  39. " I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.....where no one would tell their parishioners how to vote.....where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preferences".

    Senator John F. Kennedy, campaigning for the Presidency, 1960.

  40. JFK didn't say that because he necessarily believed it. He said it because there was fear at the time that a Catholic President would impose Church doctrine.

  41. Odd choice for a quotation, as right wing fundamentalists disdain for Popery is as strong as it is for gays.

  42. Dave Jones - If there is merit to your conjecture by inference that JFK was speaking out of the side of his mouth, you should have, given his lengthy paper record, been able to include some scintilla of evidence for your mean cheap-shot. That you did not suggests your post says more about what you believe, than what Kennedy might have.

  43. Reading about this legislation, it is hard not to be reminded of the signs that once adorned storefronts throughout Germany: "No Jews Allowed."

  44. Apparently, Arizona does not care if LGBT people bring their money to the state. Because if this passes, they certainly won't.

  45. LGBT people are less than 3% of the population, and the majority wouldn't be going to Arizona on vacation anyways. I imagine the Governor can live with that.

  46. Not just LGBT money, I'm straight and I won't spend money in any state or with any business that discriminates against LGBT people.

  47. Concerned, you seem to have cornered the market on wrong today. You might want to check your made up percentage of <3%. I think you will be surprised to find it is closer to 10-15% or more. And that population is, on average better educated and has more disposable income.

  48. What's taking Gov. Brewer so long? The second that bill was put on her desk she should have vetoed it with a quick stroke of the pen. She did before. What's changed? Who, or what, is she afraid of this time around?

    Perhaps I delude myself, but I think that if I were Gov. Brewer, I would want to earn a place in history for protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans -- even the religious right, who appear unable to comprehend separation of state and church -- and how that separation protects them as well.

    Idiocy, and worse. Sign it, Governor, and let's move on.

  49. I have read the text of this bill, and it does nothing to prevent, say, a business run by Muslims from refusing to serve immodestly clad women (which, depending on your religious definition, could be every woman in Arizona), or perhaps women unaccompanied by a male chaperone. Is Arizona really wanting to do this?

  50. How is invoking Muslims supposed to change the equation? The issue, by force of numbers, is Christians and their bigotry.

  51. Oh, come on CK - you know the point he's trying to make. And, to your point, I can show you a Billboard a Muslim-owned business has put up over their roof basically saying being gay is a choice. Yep, the majority religion is Christianity, but the religion of Islam is filled with discriminatory tenets, too. If this particular person lived in Arizona and the bill became law, he'd be on the front lines of those denying service to LGBT folks.

  52. Lately, I wouldn't think too many restaurants are turning away too many people for any reason. The outcome of discrimination from businesses is usually a FOR LEASE sign.

    As Republicans might say: "Let the market decide".

  53. Lost in the discussion about the deplorable entrenchment of legalized discrimination against homosexuals, is the fact that this bill also legalizes paying women doing the same job as men a lower salary.

    I find it instructive that even the Times editorial board saw fit to overlook this component of the bill - it teaches me, as a woman, a bitter lesson about how taken for granted I am in the great scheme of things. Shame on the Times for this oversight!

    That being said, if Brewer signs this, the US can brag about how much it has in common with . . . Uganda, which just passed stiff anti-gay legislation. And then the rest of us can lobby for the right not to do business with, say, customers who pull up in a car with a Confederate flag on it or whom we know believes the Biblical story of creation. Lastly, signing this bill would greatly strengthen the case for a secessionist movement among progressive states who can no longer bear sharing citizenship with people who want to live in the Dark Ages.

    And btw, similar bills are racing through the state legislatures of about half a dozen other states.

  54. There is no way this bill has anything to do with religious freedom. Rather, it is a nasty attempt to legislate bigotry--the bigotry of far right Republicans. I suspect Ms. Brewer will veto the bill, if only because of the revenue expected to be generated by having the Super Bowl in the state--even the Chamber of Commerce has expressed opposition.

  55. It seems like they've been inspired by the Soviet Union here, and I'm not just being snarky.

    There was a Soviet Constitution and it did technically allow for religious freedom. But the country was officially atheist. The way Soviet atheists honored religious freedom was to ensure that atheists were never forced to endure the presence of people who demonstrated or expressed religious beliefs.

    The Soviet government viewed religious believers as people whose visibility violated the religious freedom of atheists.

    And that's the same notion of religious liberty that this Arizona bill is honoring. The Soviet notion, where people with other beliefs have to be suppressed in order to protect the "freedoms" of the mainstream.

  56. They'll need to make sure they exclude the large numbers of closeted gay Christians who are married with families, too. Good luck with that.

  57. It should have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with property rights and freedom of association.

  58. The problem is that we are not talking about private households here. These businesses are places of pubic accomodation, which offer goods and services to whoever walks in the door. Our business stucture and laws operate on this assumption

  59. “From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable... If I were asked for a one-sentence sound bite on religion, I would say I was against it.” ― Salman Rushdie

  60. While you may not agree with some of his other sentiments, Karl Marx was right when he said religion was the opiate of the masses.

  61. When Jan Brewer signs it - she should hold the signing ceremony in Nuremberg, Germany.

  62. Because having to go elsewhere to get a wedding cake is the exact equivalent of killing six million people in concentration camps.

  63. @Concerned Citizen, while the scope is different, the sentiment is the same.

  64. Nazi Germany did not start out by killing 6 million people in concentration camps, they started by denying a class of people their basic human rights. Concerned you're not!

  65. The silent majority of good and decent Americans needs to stand up and shout down the minority of religious troglodytes clinging to their ignorance, guns and religious spite.

    You either support civil rights for Americans or you don't.

    If you don't support American civil rights, the Republic of Uganda is now conscripting new soldiers of homosexual and religious hate - a perfect home for America's very fake and very hypocritical religious right.

  66. If Jan Brewer knows what she's doing she will veto this bill pronto.

    We lived through the injustice of skin color prejudice and hated it.
    We hated it enough to endure many ramifications of that injustice - even violence.

    How can a woman in charge, a woman who is the leader of her state, think it is right in any way to ok this discrimination in 2014?

    Not like minded with Jan Brewer's political affiliation, but she did the right thing for Arizona in accepting federal money for Medicaid, and thus gained the respect of many unlike minded people as myself.

    Brewer has to absolutely do the right thing and veto this bill - she has to represent all in her state, including those who happen to love those of the same gender. She needs to look herself in the mirror. She knows not doing business with gays is the same as not serving sodas at the Woolworth's soda fountain counter.

  67. What is equally if not more disturbing is how we have allowed religion to dictate laws and invade our secular government. We have witnessed time and again the countries that have allowed Islamist militants to control governments fall into a state of repression, fighting among rival sects, experiencing economic stagnation and the denial of basic rights to many citizens especially women. They live often times in a constant state of internal terrorism.

    Nothing good can come from religious zealots here in the US that insist upon imposing their personal beliefs on the rest of us. We must resist them and their efforts to undermine our democracy. A good start is to send places like the State of Arizona a message we all know that they can understand boycott them. Plan a winter vacation some where other than Arizona.

  68. I live in Tucson, Arizona and everyone (and I mean everyone, "normal" Republicans included) in this city HATES this bill. All of Flagstaff as well. Even in Central Phoenix, business after business -- especially those involved with tourism and conventions -- are totally freaked out about this. And rightly so since boycotts are already being organized. Maybe it's time for the business-oriented voters of Arizona to realize that the Republican Party no longer represents their interests.

  69. There are many people in the Verde Valley that hate this bill too. Horrified. I'm ashamed of the people in my state who vote for these idiots. We need liberals to move here, the weather and the scenery are fabulous, and very low property taxes. Seriously, we need liberals who vote to move here.

  70. The bills passed the AZ house and senate on almost unanimous party-line votes. Even my state senator, John McComish, who is leaving the legislature and thus faces no primary challenge, and doesn't have a wing nut reputation, voted for it. Sad day.

  71. Water fountains that were labeled "Black" v "White" or signs in Boston that said "No dogs or Irish Allowed" or the Church of England communities that were putting Baptists (or was Methodists) in gaol in Virginia.

    As a Northern European Caucasian with blue eyes, I could find some reason to deny service to all brown eyed people. I would be very lonely and reviled. So every one relax and "Do unto others as I would have them do unto me".

  72. I am glad we have such a concentration of mean old people (not all by any means) and Taliban Christians in AZ, fewer to contaminate the politics of the other states. Hopefully, more reasonable people will emigrate to other more moderate states and leave AZ to the nutcases for a while.

    In the meantime, you can still enjoy the natural wonders of AZ while still boycotting, just gas up your car at the border and head straight for a National Park without stopping. You are free to start spending once safe in Federal territory.

    Of course, the alternative scenario is that more Arizonans could actually vote and throw out these radicals. AZ ranks 43rd in voter participation, ceding elections to anti-immigrant and homophobic voters.

  73. We lived for two years in AZ. Socially we did not fit. Politically we were way out of wack. AZ had elected a governor, Fifi Symington, I think was his name. He left office in disgrace. Other governors have done the same. It is such a strange place.

    Have been boycotting for years and that's a big deal for us because we love to golf. But we will not go there and drop money.

    Remember, AZ was the last state to recognize MLK. They were wrong then. They are wrong now.

  74. Three supporters who'd voted for the bill are now calling for Governer Brewer to veto it. They're seriously backpedaling on it because the backlash paints them as bigots when they claim the bill wasn't set up to discriminate against anybody. To quote the internet, srsly?

  75. This poses an interesting issue. If Corporations are people as our supreme court has said, then are they not entitled to 1st Amendment Protections legally speaking? Until we can definitively prove physiologically speaking that persons are "born gay" then the argument can effectively be made (legally at least) that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. Since it can be argued to be choice, then it is not immutable and therefore cannot trump rights of Religious Freedom which we have constitutionally declared to be immutable. Only when we come to a point where science can prove it is not a choice can the legal argument be made to impede religious freedom. No matter how ugly discrimination is (for the record I think it is reprehensible), we cannot usurp the constitution based on the grounds of what can legally argued to be a choice. This is an extension of the Voltaire Principle "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

  76. Leaving aside the question of whether a corporation can in fact have religious beliefs, let's look at what religious freedom means - I suppose you mean the right to the free exercise of religion, as stated in the First Amendment, correct? Some religions do condemn homosexual conduct. But how on earth does that translate to the refusal to do business? do you, or do these sanctified corporations, actually believe that renting a hotel room or selling knitting needles is somehow an endorsement of homosexual conduct?

  77. Yes, and with those "rights" Arizona businesses should have the courage to advertise their intention to discriminate. They should identify themselves by some type of designation, so that anyone in Arizona who chooses to can boycott them. After all, it's all about refusing to do business with anyone who disagrees with you; it's the principle of the thing, and freedom isn't free.

  78. Is not religious belief mutable? People covert all the time from one religion to another. Believers become atheists and the atheists become believers. If you choose to believe something I disapprove of, why can't I ban you from my restaurant? The first amendment limits the power of government with regard to religion, not businesses or private individuals.

  79. There is that thorny issue of free speech and religion that we keep stepping on in our rush to push the acceptance of gay "rights". I never found an occurrence where the government regulating morality was useful. There are people who disagree with "gay rights" they at least deserve to be heard. If we truly care about these pesky freedoms that is.

  80. Of course, they deserve to be heard. They do not deserve to forbid people they don't like, for whatever reason, to do business in their establishments.

  81. "I never found an occurrence where the government regulating morality was useful."

    In that case you may want to familiarize yourself with events that occurred in the southern United States in the middle part of the 20th century. If it weren't for government intervention there would still be segregated lunch counters in North Carolina.

  82. Please find me the passage that dictates you can not do business with someone who does not share your beliefs. I'm pretty sure in Christianity (the religion at the center of the Arizona debate) doesn't have a strong case against this. In fact in my teachings, you are supposed to support those (via forgiveness and acceptance) who do not share your own beliefs.

    There are some religions that bar business practices (such as Muslims are not allowed to sell alcohol), and that should be respected. But subverting religion as a crux to support outright discrimination against others isn't freedom of religion. It's trying to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.

  83. Dear Arizona,

    Us gays are generally free with our spending, tip really well, leave things as we found them, clean, nice and friendly - jovial even. Would it really kill you that much to do business with us?

  84. The bill should bestow on those "Christian" business owners a responsibility as well as the "right" they seek. They should be required to make their "religious" beliefs known to all potential customers by posting a sign that says, "We reserve the right to refuse service to homosexuals." With that information, potential customers can make an informed consumer decision.

  85. An amendment to the bill requiring just that was voted down by the Republican majority.

  86. How do you tell if someone is LGBTQ? Stamp a Q on their drivers license?

  87. force them to wear a pink triangle... oh wait thats been done before.

  88. Many large national companies such as Starbucks or Apple have LGBT-inclusive policies. Does this law now give employees at these companies the right to violate such corporate policies? It sounds like many local Arizona business owners are also LGBT-inclusive. Would they now have to accommodate employees who are not?

  89. I think many businesses will be under significant pressure by their more socially progressive employees, who, finding this law objectionable, pressure their employer to eliminate company and client conferences in places like sunny Scottsdale or Phoenix during the peak winter months. This would be a body blow to the hospitality industry in Arizona.

  90. Perhaps businesses that disapprove of such silliness should stop doing business there i.e. Starbucks. I know. A pipe dream but sweet nonetheless.

  91. Obviously, if they can weaken discrimination protection by refusing service to non-heterosexual individuals, it will only be a short step to doing the same with non-white individuals. White supremacists and homophobes are watching gleefully.

  92. These religions are actually cults. The Bible teaches to "love others as we love ourselves".

  93. So now what should we do about those businesses that have signs that say "no shirt, no shoes, no service "? Is this not possibly offensive to someone?

  94. You can't be serious...

  95. It has been astounding to see groups representing "Freedom of Religion" argue that this bill protects someone's rights. It confers freedom of religion on businesses -- something that the US Supreme Court hasn't dared.

    One is tempted to conclude that this isn't a defense of religious freedom at all, but rather an attempt to insulate business from any form of possible regulation by cynically using appeals to fundamentalists -- those of the Fox News "War on Religion" stripe.

    It raises the interesting questions: 1) how stupid do the anti-governmentalist wing of the Tea Party think the fundamentalist wing is, and 2) how myopic is the anti-governmentalist wing to not expect genuine AZ business interests to realize that this law is in fact a new form of government regulation.

  96. Any government that allows alleged religious beliefs to excuse discrimination against its citizens in areas of public accommodation or in places where public funds are received and used has a lot of explains to do. The US is not yet a theocracy; anyone who is engaged in the provision of service to the public should not be permitted to discriminate or to refuse to provide services because of some religious objection. If you don't want to service the public get out of the business of serving the public. If you want to live in a ghetto segregated by religion, move elsewhere. Yes, I said move elsewhere. The US must make it clear that we will not tolerate segreatstion or discrimination no matter what the excuse.

  97. It hard to believe that our country has come to this when the Bill of Rights guarantees religious freedom based upon the separation of church and state. If a state allows someone claim discrimination based on their religion, we are on the road to complete breakdown of society and the civil compact. These legislators and the people behind them are by far the most anti-American and anti-Founding Fathers in their belief of the promise of our country.

  98. If this disgusting bill passes, what's next? Maybe those who blame Jews for Christ"s death can exclude Jews from their establishments and businesses based on religious grounds. It was done in America before. Now we'll have a law that blesses it.

  99. Great point! I am actually going to PHX tomorrow; I'll remember to ask before entering an establishment about this. Thanks for the tip.

  100. All I have to add to my previous comment is: Move out from Arizona - it is a hopeless case. It turns out that this Western state is actually much worse than many Southern States.

    Nobody is going to fight Civil War II because of gay rights. The only sensible solution for Arizona gays who do not want to live in a closet is to leave the state.

  101. If you left a state every time they supported something absurd (social issues are not the center of the universe) you would have to the leave the US. Running is not a solution. Standing for what is right is a start.

  102. From my perspective what is happening here is the result of a small and very vocal contingent that is discriminatory on multiple levels. They have asserted that immigrants must driven from the state (SB 1070), they see anyone that wants an ounce of gun control as enemy of freedom, they want to drive members of the LGBT community from the state.

    These are not decent religious folk that want to maintain their traditions and way of life. They are hate (and fear) mongers and they are pushing the rest of the state populace around. We Arizonans do not support this bill and the outcry from within the state is being heard. Even among the religious community they recognize they are being included in this blanket accusation of bigotry and discrimination and are either standing against or at the very least not giving a modicum of support to this bill.

    People are not stupid, but unfortunately we are being overrun by an ignorant and loud few. Arizona needs to stand up for itself and show that will not be overrun by these zealots.

  103. Exciting times ahead if the bill is not vetoed. I can hardly wait to see how the businessmen will identify who is homosexual and who is not. Maybe they will use tattoos. Or Sexual Orientation IDs. Concentration Camps? Banishment? I say let us get on with it. Let Arizona show the other states how to do it.......

  104. I for one disagree with this editorial. Not for the same reason. I wish that Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer show her true colors and sign this bill. The only way that Arizona will learn is to suffer the consequences of it's own action. The legislators that are now backtracking should own up to their collaboration to the passing of this bill. Arizona has never been tolerant of anyone and this bill only proves it. Go Ahead Gov. Brewer sign it. WE DARE YOU!

  105. The NY Times Ed Board has made a logic error. If one uses the example of a public restaurant, no one's religious freedom is effected by serving anyone and everyone what the restaurant serves. However, forcing a kosher restaurant to serve non-kosher foods is an act of religious discrimination. If one uses the example of a wedding photographer who is a devout Christian, Muslim or Jew, forcing them to attend a same-sex wedding to take picture clearly violates religious freedom. This is what the Supreme Court will rule on in June.
    I would assert the NY Times Ed Board might be the least qualified body on earth to discuss anyone's religious rights. They are quite expert in secular rights and routinely and loudly assert the, They have little understanding or compassion for those asserting religious rights they do not understand and mostly loathe.

  106. The analogy isn't serving non-kosher foods but refusing to serve someone based on their religion.

  107. Who gets to decide what "religious rights" are? Down to the last detail, crossing every T and dotting every I? And who gets to decide who the "deciders" will be??

  108. I agree: if some kosher food walked into a restaurant and the management refused to take its order, it would be discrimination.

  109. Rather than write off this conflict in Arizona as just another expression of absurdity, it can be used instead as an "opportunity" by the powers that be to ponder and understand what is at the root of remaining Gay discrimination. Once the underlying concerns and fears can be identified and directly addressed, this conflict and its many expressions (churches etc.) can be more easily eliminated and its outward expression of fear and bias eventually replaced with inclusion and acceptance.

  110. The Supreme Court will have to decide whether to recognize the right of gays and lesbians to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment or to create a new First Amendment right for everyone to discriminate against those whose sexual practices contravene religious beliefs.

    No doubt some members of the Court like to interpret the First Amendment broadly -- for example, equating unlimited political spending to free speech. But logically, a new First Amendment right to discriminate based on anything that contravenes religious belief opens a lot of doors to discrimination: Christians could refuse service to Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and some Christian sects based on failure to accept Jesus as their savior. Catholics could refuse to serve Protestants based on failure to recognize the infallibility of the Pope. Atheists could be denied service by everyone -- but could atheists refuse to deal with anyone of faith?

  111. I quote Rachel Maddow: "Here's the thing about rights. They're not supposed to be voted on...that's why they call them rights."

    When the Political Christians and their false bible thumping take over our laws with their 'religion' - our country will be fully under their FAKE rule.

  112. When fascism comes to the US, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross!

  113. Which right are you referring to?

    * The right to practice religion as one sees fit?
    * The right to not be discriminated against because of orientation?

  114. So Concerned Reader, are you suggesting that the two rights you listed are mutually exclusive? Can you explain?

  115. Is a business that caters mostly to gays (nothing wrong with that) be compelled to extend their services to Ted Nugent events?

  116. I don't understand your argument. Businesses refusing to deal with LGBT folks are *supposed* to be Christian. Without proof, of course. What would the applicable label be for a business "that caters mostly to gays,,," be labeled--a pinkie? There is no law concerning such businesses, and how would you write one? Please explain.

  117. Yes. As a business they are compelled to maximize profits in order to remain in business-that is the nature of capitalism is it not?

  118. If they're discriminating because he's white or because he's straight, then yes, that would be wrong and illegal.

  119. "Arizona law already prohibits the state from placing a “substantial burden” on a person’s exercise of religion unless a strict standard of necessity can be met. The new bill would expand the definition of a “person” to include secular for-profit businesses and allow individuals and businesses to use their religious beliefs as a defense to lawsuits charging discrimination based on sexual orientation in parts of the state where various forms of it are illegal."

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, currently in place, does what this proposal does but without the definition of a person which includes secular for-profit business and individuals and which would allow them to use religious beliefs as a defense to lawsuits charging discrimination. No matter how this law or amendment to the current RFRA is interpreted, it is discrimination based on a person's sexual preference. In my business or in any other business conducted over the internet I don't ask potential customers what their sexual preferences are before I sell a product, and yet this is exactly what the Arizona law proposes. This is discrimination and no careful argument is going to change this. If I am a Christian and I believe that Muslims are evil does that give me the right to turn away Muslims from my business? This proposed law is a throwback to the Jim Crow laws.

  120. Muslims, Jews, Quakers, Buddhists, etal. A Bad Law is a Bad Law is a Bad Law. Arizona isn't an exception to the norm. Other States are in the process also.

    The worry is that States will enact Laws in such a way that their Laws are contrary to other States' Laws. When that happens we will not be the United States, but 50 sovereign States bearing no allegiance to any other State or Nation.

  121. You should hear every single evil conservative swami on the radio applaud Arizona's business owners who are using their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation. It's really chilling that in the 21st century Arizona wants to turn the clock back to the pre-civil rights, "gentlemen's agreement" era of the 1950's where it was perfectly ok to deny people jobs, housing, hotel rooms and education on the basis of race or religion. The timing couldn't be worse for Arizona because next year Phoenix hosts the Super Bowl. Is it too late for the NFL to relocate the Super Bowl? Hey I'm sure New York and New Jersey wouldn't mind hosting the Super Bowl again.

  122. Ever since Janet Napolitano left office, and Jan Brewer became governor, this state's politics are so ugly it's almost beyond belief. The state legislature takes great delight in passing these types of laws that are clearly unconstitutional and couldn't care less how much money is wasted on defending them. Meantime state spending on education is among the worst in the nation and getting worse every year.

    The state's natural beauty is overwhelmed by the mean spirited, racist, discriminatory, hideous politics as personified by politicians such as Brewer and Joe Arpaio. It is so discouraging because there are a lot of progressive state residents in such places as Tucson and Flagstaff. But obviously not enough.

    Every time you think the legislature has hit rock bottom, and there's nowhere to go but up, they pass yet another bill like this. This isn't unusual at all, it's now business as usual. Just wait until next week.

    Perhaps efforts to make the state pay a price by economic boycotts will change things, but I doubt it. It's beyond discouraging, it's absolutely depressing and sad. Even if Brewer vetoes the bill, it will not change this state's well deserved reputation as the ugliest, most hateful place in the country.

  123. Tempe and Phoenix are progressive...

  124. I was staying with acquaintances in Phoenix a few years ago. They had a garden party and people brought instruments and played and sang songs. Among the singers was a person who wrote "conservative music". I was regaled with right wing rhymes that repeated all the favourite conservative tropes. It freaked me out. I was afraid to say I was from Canada for fear of being stoned as a socialist. Arizona is weird.

  125. So goes every Red State. PS: South Carolina is on par with Arizona.

  126. I live in Tucson, Arizona. The crazy laws here include nonsense gun laws and the war against women. This new law is completely out of line. The local news in Tucson broadcast that a local restaurant has put a notice in its front window: We refuse service to members of the Arizona State Legislature. I thought the sign most appropriate.

  127. Our pastor told a version of this story Sunday...

    A woman driving a car came up behind an elderly gentleman driving his car, much to slowly for the woman's taste. After a mile or so, the man came up to a stoplight that was just turning yellow, whereupon he came to a halt. The woman, now furious, laid down on her horn, and let forth a stream of expletives and gestures in her frustration.

    Then came a knock on her car window, from a trooper. He ordered her out of the car, patted her down, cuffed her, and put her into his own car for transport to the station for booking.

    After her fingerprints were taken, and she was put in a holding cell for an hour or so, the trooper returned, and let her go with an apology.

    "I'm sorry, ma'am, but when I saw the WWJD bumper sticker, the "choose life" license plate, the "follow me to Sunday school" decal, and the fish symbol, I had to assume, given your behavior at the stoplight, that you had stolen the car."

    Perhaps we should direct as much scrutiny to the business practices of these businesses before we declare they are worthy of passing such judgment on their patrons.

  128. What a great story. Thank you for sharing it.

  129. Lovely.

  130. If you use a religious belief, a view of what marriage should be for instance, and use an instrument of government, a state legislature for instance, to make others conform to that religious belief, how is this not a violation of the First Amendment? Then, if said legislature codifies that view of marriage into law with the result of creating a class of citizens with attendant benefits to the exclusion of others not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment?

  131. How does this differ fundamentally from the religion fronting for discrimination laws restricting women's right to obtain healthcare? Treating corporations as persons? etc., etc.

    It would be helpful for these virtues-free business owners, directors and investors to self-identify as such so that we, the little people, can avoid their businesses entirely. We may not have much left to spend in the way of dollars, but our collective avoidance of contact with them may be of benefit to us.

  132. i have yet to understand, or hear a compelling argument, to deny gay/bi/transgender people their basic civil rights under our constitution. exactly how does serving a gay person a drink hinder or corrupt your religious beliefs? how does one person marrying another of the same sex destroy your marriage? are these religious and "damage to civilization" not all the same arguments that were used to enforce segregation and deny blacks and other people of color their right to vote? own property? intermarry? freedom of religion is fine, but it should also provide for freedom for others *from* your religious beliefs.

  133. This is a front in the Civil War of our time, and two of the great gratifications it offers are, one, to fight it, and two, to defeat the malignant, un-American mindset that motivates the other side. We have the privilege in our day that the Freedom Riders had in theirs: of seeing the likes of Pat Buchanan, Glenn Beck, Phyllis Schlafly lose as they deserve to lose, with bitter ignominy.

  134. I personally think Gov. Brewer will veto this legislation, but in the odd chance that she does sign it, businesses that do choose to discriminate (on religious beliefs of course) would be doing so at their own financial peril. Didn't that baker that refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple go out of business due to his customer base boycotting the establishment? Religious beliefs typically don't put food on the table.

  135. They will be sued in Federal court and will lose. These "laws" will never face Federal scrutiny.

  136. When I first moved to Seattle my car still had the AZ plates on it from when I had lived there with my Army husband. The couple upstairs from us, who were black, HATED me on sight. I of course, simply assumed it was because I am white and they had some bigotry there - nothing new, happens on both ends. But, what I now realize fully is the part those AZ license plates palyed in that episode. Bigotry isn't right on either side, but I can see now that there were assumptions made about me due to my association with that state. Loved living there, love the desert, but I would never live there again. And I have to say, not anxious to visit again either.

  137. Why does your story remind me of my dear old Mother warning me against judging a book by its' cover? The black couple who hated you on site were / are guilty of bigotry regardless of their reasons, & you are guilty of letting other's opinion of you change your opinion of an entire state. Shame on you.

  138. The real "gotcha" here is that this is allowing discrimination based on the perception that someone is gay or lesbian. How would a business determine this in order to exercise their religious exemption? Would it be because two people of the same sex were having dinner or some similar behavior. Couldn't they just be friends or relatives?

    This discrimination could easily be abused, all the person or group doing the discrimination would have to do would be "I thought they were gay." It would open up discrimination of all types under that cover.

    Gov. Brewer has occasionally surprised people by being less extreme than the Arizona legislature. Let us hope that this proves to be one of those occasions.

  139. Many others have articulated quite well the inherent problems of such a law in a pluralistic democracy (and the problems are MANY). So, here's a different point for the "religious" people out there who would support such a law. An honest, objective review of history would reveal the following: in the name of religion there has been unspeakable horror and crime committed against others. What, by any measure, have people who are gay and lesbian done that even remotely approximates the pain and suffering caused in the name of religion? And given that, might it not be fair for more secular minded folks to to refuse to cater to people w/ obvious religious intent? Of course we wouldn't do that because we really do believe in relgious freedom.

  140. Religion is superstition. It is worthless as a moral guide, for it is by definition exclusionary. Look where it gets us what with all those fanatics. This is especially true of the 3 despicable Abrahmic religions. It applies to Hindus as well and others which I forget right this minute.

  141. Let me put it this way:
    If I have a house - or appartment- which I built, and it is built according to my needs and beliefs, it represents me and my character.

    I can allow -or disallow- people to come in and use it with me, and likely, I shall only allow those who are of the same kind.

    It will build up in centuries a copyright to build and name these things defined as being of my kind.

    If someone breaks in and wants to use it - I don't like that, if what they do is not what this house is meant for.

    Let them build their own -I won't object- to their own character, actions, and wishes.

    They cannot call it "marriage", because it is not what the copyrighted word describes - but any otherr name is open to them (unless there is, like here, a copyright on it).
    And I will not try to come i there.
    And that is Mutual respect.

  142. It's not your house, Doctor. It belongs to everyone.

  143. The explanation is both, simple enough, that even you would understand it: it is unlawaful to discriminate. It is also complex enough that it probably won't fit in your brain.

  144. There is no such thing as a copyrighted word. Stop making stuff up to justify your hateful ideas.

  145. Why is the Governor hesitating, even for a minute???

  146. Catholics in AZ should try and remember, and should remember when Catholics were considered vermin and suffered mass discrimination in many parts of this country in the 1940' and 50's. Is "Do unto others" just a joke to them?

  147. I remember in the 1840's and 1850's, many job ads in the newspapers contained the acronym NINA. It meant "No Irish need apply". It seems that the Irish potato famine triggered a flood-tide of Irish Roman Catholic Immigrants to this country. There was incredible hostility against them, so much so, that some of the Irish kids drafted into the army to conquer Mexican territories, were angered by prejudice so much so, that after attending Mexican Catholic Mass, they switched sides. And interestingly, this tragedy has been kept out of the history books used in our public schools.

  148. The Jewish, the Amish, the Quakers, the Mormons, and the list goes on. Sorry to say but one Political Party, not named here, is Goose-Stepping to the beat of another Party of the 30's and 40's while some of that Party are engaging in what they rant and rave about.

  149. Years ago I visited the Grand Canyon and Sedona and thought they were extraordinary and beautiful and since I've been married (to my long time partner of over 20 years) I've always wanted to go back and experience those places with my husband. But knowing that restaurants may refuse to welcome us for dinner, or that I would be denied restroom use at a gas station, or that a bakery would force us to eat our goods away from their establishment (if they would allow us to purchase at all), I doubt if I will feel comfortable, not to mention safe, in such a hate filled environment. One question for Arizona republicans: I am a law abiding tax paying and altogether good natured person if I don't mind myself saying so. You've never met me or seen me. Tell me, why on earth do I deserve such hateful treatment from you.

  150. You do not deserve such treatment. AZ is not all like that, Tucson certainly is not. Legislators of the republican ilk are like that! Maricopa county is highly represented in the legislature, and that's the problem because Phoenix and its suburbs are more Midwest-like and are not truly Arizonans. Come to Tucson where we have a more vibrant liberal community, and a vibrant LBTG, etc.
    I apologize for these imbecilic fossils who came up with this garbage.

  151. You are kdding right? The essence of discrimination is that you are NOT a person; you are part of a group. You cease to exist as an individual and only exist as a symbol of the group.

  152. Brewer will veto this stupid bill because the NFL has already made it clear that it will not allow AZ to host the Super Bowl next year if she signs this bill into law. However, I hope that when she issues her veto she acknowledges the inherent evils of discrimination and not simply the need to maintain AZ's economic viability.

  153. Reply to nfnmg: So the NFL will do to the state of Arizona what Arizona wants to do to gays. It's discrimination from both perspectives.

  154. Sorry nano, but, and I think you know this, these are not the same. The NFL can choose to host the Super Bowl wherever it likes. The NFL cannot (and would not) turn away gay people or religious fundamentlists (well, maybe Westboro if they refused to behave themselves)from the turnstiles. See the difference? I bet you can. Will you ignore it? Probably.

  155. Reply to pauleky reply:
    It's not what they do, it's the why.
    As far as what I understand or will do: you presume too much.
    And you are wrong.

  156. Regardless of the merits of the Arizona bill, it is fascinating to read the comments here. Evangelical Christians, it seems, are (in no particular order): Taliban, Nazis, Southern Segregationists, and Ugandans! What a testimony to liberal temperance these comments make.

    For what it's worth, I think the proposed law to be shortsighted and, in the long run, unworkable. However, I don't share the belief of others commenting here that the proponents of the law are murderers, terrorists, totalitarians or even, necessarily, "homophobes." They are people merely trying to maintain the status quo.

    Perhaps the law would have been more palatable had it been based on freedom of association grounds, but, really, there is no basis on which it will last. The culture is moving against the Arizona legislature and against the particular brands of Christianity that attempt to legislate personal morality. Either another divine "Great Awakening" must occur to bring the unsaved into the fold or the country is headed for a future that is largely irreligious. Depending on your point of view, you may pray for the "Great Awakening" or seek the furtherance of the "Progressive" experiment in subjective morality.

    As a conservative libertarian Christian, I find myself bemused by the whole debate. I think we would all be far happier not knowing the sexual proclivities of our neighbors, but, if we must know, how is homosexuality worse than adultery or other sexual sins denounced in the Bible?

  157. "They are people merely trying to maintain the status quo."

    So the status quo is discrimination by businesses against certain groups of citizens? And now they want to legalize and legitimatize that discrimination? I think that is what is getting people in an uproar. So the use of the word "merely" in your sentence reveals a support for their position, or at least a dismissal of any wrongdoing or ill will. That's the problem.

    And was ending slavery or allowing women to vote another "Progressive" experiment in subjective morality?

  158. Right, and people who wanted to own slaves were just looking out for the good of the economy and treating women as property was a way to keep families together, etc.

    Enough of trying to dress up ignorance and hatred and claim that it's harmless.

  159. You imply that subjective morality is an "experiment" that is only as old as the Progressive movement. This is not the case. See for example Hannah Arendt's analysis in The Life of the Mind of Socrates's articulation of subjective morality. The conviction that one must consult one's own conscience rather than holy writ when it comes to ethical choices dates to antiquity. It is not some new-fangled post-structuralist exercise in relativism.

    Also, while I don't condone overheated rhetoric, it must be said that being a murderer, terrorist, totalitarian or homophobe and being a person trying to maintain the status quo are not mutually exclusive.

  160. What's the problem with Arizona? The U.S. Constitution clearly mandates separation of church and state. So, how is this law allowing denial of public services allowing for-profit business to discriminate based on religion not unconstitutional? The keystone of religion is tolerance and this law attempts to legalize intolerance through mean-spirited bigotry. Proponents of this law should listen to Pope Francis who said about gays. "Who am I to judge." Arizona is trying to adopt an anti-Christian legalized form of discrimination reminiscent of the de jure Jim Crow laws. Just as we object to such policies in Putin's Russia, we should condemn and oppose them here at home.

  161. Can you imagine the howls of manufactured outrage if a gay baker or photographer refused their services to a heterosexual Christian couple who were planning their wedding solely on the basis of their religion or sexual orientation!!!! We'd never hear the end of it on Fox News.

  162. Fox "News" would ignore if because it would illustrate how stupid this and other similar legislation is.

  163. There is no limit to where this can end if permitted. One could pass a law based on the same principles, to allow one to discriminate by refusing to do business with, or provide service to anyone with whom one disagrees on the basis of religious beliefs about anything whatsoever, and this could even extend to someone of the same religion. If religion can dictate to an individual that they disapprove of someone's failure to comply with that individual's interpretation of one provision in their religious text, there is virtually no one on the planet who can comply with every provision in that text.

    Why choose one "sin" from all the choices? The answer is simply, to behave in a discriminatory manner.

    Is a business person allowed to simply ask someone if they are gay? If so, can they ask every patron if they've cheated on their spouse, engaged in masturbation, ever stolen anything, ever told a lie?

    In a state that so freely allows and almost encourages people to carry guns, this will lead to murders.

    Society needs to learn tolerance, not legislate intolerance.

  164. To pretend that this bill is anything but an unconstitutional attempt to legalize discrimination would be flat-out lying. And why stop with LGBTs? Should this bill be signed into law, what's to prevent businesses from discriminating against Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Atheists, union members, or any other groups that conservatives love to hate? All in the name of religion.

    There seems to be a culture of "meanness" emanating from Arizona. Perhaps it started before America elected a Black president, but it seems like Arizona conservatives not only dislike anyone who isn't one of them, but are doing everything in their power to make life as miserable as possible for everyone who's not a White male conservative.

  165. Hey, you forgot the French! Remember freedom fries? tsskk! I hope this too shall pass.... AZ republicans are turgid with idiocy! Even worse that the Washington herd.

  166. This heinous legislation must not stand. I am ashamed that in this country, in this era, such legislated hatred could be conceived of let alone enacted into law. Arizona has fashioned itself into a pariah state within the United States. Bigoted, backwards laws like this clearly demonstrate that there is a segment of our society that has run amok. I am incredulous that any rational person could with a straight face and a clear conscience in any way condone or approve such a destructive, divisive law.

    A dark cloud of shame hangs over Arizona, but it is also a cloud that hangs over us all until we erase this cancerous hatred from our midst.

  167. Well, some of us are trying, but these republicans are something else. What else can I say? This is really embarrassing.

  168. From John 13: 34-35
    "34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” "

    How does this square with the discrimination part of the proposed law in Arizona, SB 1062?

  169. Sir,

    You have confused love with a lack of judgment. Judgment of right and wrong are explicitly required of Christians. Not so that the sinner is condemned, but, rather, so that, knowing their failure, they might repent and be reconciled to God.

    It is not hatred that motivates Christians (at least most Christians) to oppose gay marriage, it is a sincere desire to live in accordance with the commandments of God. Jesus showed great compassion to those caught in sin; however, He didn't tell them to continue on as they were. No, He commanded them to "go and sin no more." This wasn't discrimination, it was spiritual guidance so that the repentant sinner could enter into the peace of God.

    More particularly, Jesus' command in John 13 was given to His disciples and was to apply between those of like faith. It was not a blanket command to accept any and all behavior found in the world.

  170. Thomas Hall
    And why I ask is it wrong to be gay? Is there a prohibition against this in the Bible?

    I know that in Deuteronomy 7 it says:
    "When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them." In other words the Bible states clearly that miscegenation is good. This has been overturned in the courts.

    Is there a commandment in the Bible which says that one cannot be gay? Is it anywhere stated in the Bible that being gay is wrong or immoral?

  171. Thomas Hall - Jesus might have told people not to sin but here's a newsflash, you're not Jesus. It's not up to you to tell anyone else how to live. The U.S. isn't a theocracy and your ideas of sin have no place in government.

  172. Just trying to keep up here: businesses are people, right? And now that religion is business as well, where would one go to receive a sense of spiritual balm? Certainly not in a contradiction we call "conservative christianity", where loving others is not recommended, judgement is the most popular sport, and 'do unto others' is simply what we do before they can 'do unto us'. I was raised in a fundamentalist Church of Christ in Texas, and we all knew that the members of the cross-town fundamentalist Church of Christ were all going to hell because they disagreed with us. Once i left home, I learned that - when everyone else in the room is a *jerk*, you are most likely The Jerk. Our institutions are failing us because we've turned them all into businesses: government, religion, education...and one can easily see why conservatives are against being smart, much less free.

  173. Well... it seems that Arizona and Uganda have finally reached convergence.

  174. Just when I think people can't get meaner, uglier or more hateful...

    Is Arizona a stand your ground state? Next they'll be legislating that it's okay to shoot LGBT people because they might threaten your lifestyle with your imaginary friend in the sky.


  175. Never mind all the righteous bloviating in the comments section. If it isn't clear tot he governor how this could hurt business in a tourism-centric state, then she should resign. Put this in terms of money, and believe me, the lovely people of Arizona will get it.

  176. The funniest thing here is that these folks are asking for permission to discriminate.... based on just what religious tenet?
    You know what Jesus said about homosexuality? Nothing.

  177. Most conservative biblical and Torah scholars interpret these passages from Leviticus to reference a prohibition against homosexuality:

    18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

    20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13)

  178. Perhaps this could be a teaching moment to explore the true meaning of the Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai which have been homophobicly mistranslated in New Testament translations for so long. (See Theodore W. Jennings Jr.) And also maybe now would be a helpful time to meditate on the physically intimate relationship between Jesus and the "disciple whom he loved" in the Gospel Of John which may be the source of all this Christian homophobia that may be ultimately fundamentally compensatory.

  179. So why wouldn't this law prevent a florist from refusing to provide flowers for the wedding of a (straight) Jewish couple, simply because the couple didn't share the florist's view of Jesus' divinity?

  180. Since religious "beliefs" are mostly based on fantasy or at best are strongly held opinions with no basis in objective fact - an example being "God doesn't like gays" - Arizona is essentially saying that anyone's fantasy or opinion is grounds for discrimination. A Christian fundamentalist might use the same law to discriminate against Jews because, in his eyes, they killed Christ.

    Unfortunately appeals to reason won't really work in Arizona. This is the state that sold the very building in which the legislature sits. They now lease it from a private real estate company. The legislators seemed to have said to voters that their representatives are so incompetent they couldn't even manage a building so they sold it. Can we really expect reason from such people?

    Perhaps its time to use economic sanctions against Arizona? They have worked against other rogue governments.

  181. People have rights. They have a right to be free of government intrusion into their private lives. That means they have a right to form relationships with other consenting adults, they have a right to worship as they see fit, and they have a right to exercise their personal beliefs in their decisions over their own property and lives. That also means people have a right to be narrow-minded bigots. While efforts to combat prejudice are worthy, the government must allow individuals to live as they see fit. A gay store owner should not be forced to serve anti-gay Christians. A black cab driver should not be forced to drive a Klansman around town. Your property, your call. Businesses that would refuse to serve homosexuals should meet with deserved public outrage and boycotts, not government sanction.

  182. The pubic accommodation laws might have some arguing to do with you. We addressed this 60 years ago. This is settled. Want to discriminate? Do so in your personal life. In the PUBLIC SQUARE all are served or you are out of business.

  183. Can the black airline pilot refuse to fly the klansman? Can the gay bus driver refuse to allow the anti-gay christian to get on the bus? Can the jewish ambulance driver refuse to treat and transport the muslim accident victim? Should the racist school teacher be allowed to not educate the Asian student? If you own the only grocery store in town and you hate gay people can you refuse to sell them food? If you own the only gas station in 50 miles can you refuse to sell gas to a gay person? What if that person is straight and traveling with another person of the same sex, can you just presume they are gay? How do you always know someone is gay? Will you require them to wear pink triangles to make it easier for you? Where does all this end? Shall we go back and set the record straight and let Woolworth's refuse to serve the African-American at the lunch counter?

  184. Not long ago, a case was brought in Minnesota whereby Muslim taxi drivers serving the MSP airport refused to take passengers carrying alcoholic beverages. The drivers called freedom of religion. The airport called discrimination. The case went to court and the airport won. It is discrimination. And I'm glad I live in Minnesota.

  185. When you use religion to discriminate against others, you might want to examine your religion. Something's horribly wrong with a religion that supports hate.

  186. Also prominent in the Arizona Hall of Shame is the fact that Arizona was the last state to ratify the Federal law honoring Dr Martin Luther King Jr''s birthday with a Monday holiday in January,

  187. I think there are many people on the United States, and around the world, who cannot distinguish between "freedom of religion" and "all the freedom for my own religion". A Quaker woman was hung in 1666, for the crime of being a Quaker. The Puritans believed that God absolutely demanded executions for anyone who strayed from strict religious teachings and so they were fighting for the freedom to to get to ram their religion down everybody else's throats, on pain of the death penalty. I just hope we are not returning to that frame-of-mind.

  188. The Ugandan President said it all. What a breath of fresh air. Why is Uganda on the right side of this issue and 17 states are not. Even Putin makes sense on this issue.
    Perhaps Justice Kennedy will come to his senses and right the wrong from a year ago. Time will only tell.

  189. John: Two thoughts on your bigotry - when did you choose to be heterosexual, and if you think Uganda has it right, why don't you move there where you can be with like minded bigots. Bon Voyage!


  190. Is this comment a joke?

  191. Well this is scary. According to your way of thinking, it's a shame that Germany lost WWII.

    I live in one of the seventeen states where same sex marriage is legal. I'm looking forward to the day when it's legal in all states. It harms no one and it strengthens our communities by making sure that everyone is treated equally and encouraged to build happy, stable, lasting relationships.

  192. The argument about a photographer shooting a gay wedding borders on being worthy of consideration. (All the rest, like refusing to bake a cake or deliver flowers, are pure nasty nonsense.)

    What if, when asked to do the job, the photographer just said:

    "Look, I would be really uncomfortable in that setting, and it would be very difficult for me to do a professional job. I can refer you to a good photographer who would be glad for your business."

    I don't know, how many gay couples do you think would decide to bring a lawsuit if they were afforded that small level of non-judgmental human decency, and asked to respond in kind?

    It is clear, in the cases like not making a cake, that there is a *personal* rebuke involved, directed at the customer, rather than any real religious burden on the baker.

  193. If those words were used and delivered in a respectful tone, I like to think I'd respond with at least basic respect.

    Another thing I'd like to do is invite that photographer to the wedding, on condition that he be respectful while there. He'd be a guest, not the photographer, so his work wouldn't be an issue. But I'd want him to see that a gay wedding isn't usually all that different from the hundreds of weddings he'd photographed before. There's no orgy or child sacrifice. It's just two people celebrating their commitment and love before family and friends, with hopefully good food and dancing thrown in.

    I wonder how many photographers or bakers or whatever would take me up on that offer.

  194. Matt,

    Excellent suggestion.

    As for the last sentence, that would depend on how many of them are actual Christians.

  195. Three republican state senators from Arizona have beseeched Ms. Brewer to undo the harm they had done by voting for this bill. One of them, the president of the senate, was interviewed by Chris Hayes on MSNBC last evening. When asked why he voted for the bill in the first place he sputtered and stammered about not knowing there was discrimination built into the thing. To me it was obvious, the only thing they were really worried about was the financial impact it will make on the state when boycotts are pressed regarding this law.
    Brewer will play her game of brinkswomanship right up to the last minute and then will probably veto the thing. But not because it is the right thing to do, but the least harmful to business.
    Curiouser and curiouser!

  196. Strict separation of church and state (including the little ones) makes for a viable diverse and civil society. Arizona? If this law passes, I'll not travel there or through it on my way to California to visit kin. I'll also check the location of businesses in order to avoid them when making internet purchases. Money talks and religious rant walks!

  197. Arizona's anti-immigration laws led to a boycott of the state by some people, but this was diffuse and not dramatic. If individual businesses start to discriminate, they will be vulnerable to focused boycotts and other classic anti-discrimination actions such as sit-ins and picketing. This will generate images that will look just like the Civil Rights actions against racial discrimination in the 50s and 60s. It will prove very bad for those businesses and for Arizona as a whole. And the rights of people to be treated without discrimination will eventually triumph.

  198. I do believe this law goes a little far. With that being said, I also think that suing someone that wont bake you a cake is a little on the extreme side too. I am sure there are tons of businesses owned by LGBT people that could serve them a great cake. They could of never done business with that baker again. They could tell all of their friends too. Maybe this baker did not have LGBT items for cakes. Who knows. And why would you want someone to bake a cake for you on the best day of you and your partners life, that really did not want to? I would want someone that is going to totally embrace my event and put all of the love in to it, that I was feeling for this glorious day.

    Both of these actions are extreme.

  199. TSawyer,

    I just made a comment on this with respect to photographers. The difference is that providing a personal service in person is not the same as producing a product. I'm not saying the law *should* protect the photographer, but at least there is a human side to the situation.

    What about someone placing an order for a wedding dress? Would the woman have to certify that she is marrying a man? Or that the man isn't transgender?

  200. Sure, and maybe those separate rest rooms and water fountains were perfectly nice as well.

    It's not legal to discriminate, end of story.

  201. I am flabbergasted by this comment. What's next? Refuse to sell because one's skin color? Refuse service to people of other religious believes? What stops anyone from serving you because you look old or wear glasses, or something that affects you personally?

  202. In their haste to paint Arizona as the "bigot capitol of the United States of America," today's newspapers are blatantly overlooking a very important fact. In 2006, Arizona voters defeated Proposition 107, which, if it had passed, would have prohibited Arizona from recognizing same-sex marriages or civil unions. In fact, it was the 1st state to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    I think the current Arizona legislation awaiting approval from Gov. Jan Brewer is bad legislation, & I believe the majority of Arizona citizens agree with me. Jan Brewer is an intelligent & astute politician who has a record of voting WITH the majority of her constituency. I also believe she is a decent human being, & a decent human being would not consider approving such bad legislation.

  203. Remember the Constitution and take Religion out of Politics and Laws!!! Our Founding Fathers NEVER made Religion a basis of the Constitution. Note: Many, if not most, of the Founding Fathers were not Christians in the true sense. They were Deists in the true sense, believing in a Supreme Being while not believing in the supernatural.

    States that pass any Laws that limit, debase, or shows a bias or intolerance based upon Religion, Sex, Sexual Preference, Race, or Nationality should be shunned by Federal Government, esp, not to receive any Federal Funding henceforth.

    As to any Business, all States should enact a clause into every Business License which states that the Business can not hinder any employee Rights granted by the Federal Government (Inter-State Commerce, for example) or by that granted by the State.

  204. How would this even get carried out? Unless you walk in someplace holding hands or kissing, it's not apparent that 2 people are a couple. So will people be discriminated on how people perceive their looks? Their facial features are too "gay" for the shop owner? What if a straight man has a feminine gait, is that enough reason to kick someone out? I really don't see how this can be enforced without multiple lawsuits.

  205. How can the NFL even consider this horrendous state who discriminates against blacks and Hispanics (sheriff), sticks a finger in the face of the Us president (governor) when they make their billions on the backs of the same people being held down by these bigots???? If every black or Hispanic player doesn't threaten to boycott a Super Bowl in AZ, they are crazy regardless of this latest threat to any non white, heterosexual Christian. Of course, screwing around while you're there and charging thousands of dollars for tickets will still be permitted. They have proven completely unacceptable for a national (that includes blacks, gays, Asians, women) game to be celebrated there. Pick another state!!

  206. We should all just be quiet and let the GOP continue digging a pit for themselves. They are marching courageously backwards into oblivion.

  207. It's not just about gays or any group--whoever the latest target of the religious rw happens to be. It's about all. If somebody doesn't like something about you whatever it is, they can discriminate against you by simply claiming divine inspiration for their beliefs about you. Then use this to pass laws that translate their bias into legal discriminatory behavior.

    Only govt can protect us from this total contradiction to democracy and human rights. And the rw is making govt itself it's enemy using an alliance of big money and and a distorted influence of religion.

    Big money hates govt regulation of business, and fundamentalist religion sees protection of our civil liberties from them as an attack on them.

  208. Regardless of whether you are for or against this bill, In today's hyper politically correct world, the passage of this into law will result in Arizona becoming a 3rd world state. Business' will flee as fast as they can and the economy of Arizona will implode. Arizona can forget about defending it's border with Mexico and just merge with Mexico and become another 3rd world Mexican State.

  209. This is for Mike of New York
    You hit the nail on the head. I was thinking the same.
    Arizona, you want tourism - be fair and just to all. All those who spend money are spending the same green stuff. If that isn't ok, then we can always find somewhere else to go. This is a big country with a lot of places who will serve everyone and treat people with kindness.
    Your comment serves the people of this country well. All the people.

  210. Apparently, these religious folks are seeking "special rights".

  211. The sad part is that this will probably ve decided on a monetary or fiscal basis.

    Radix malorum est cupiditas

  212. Is there any difference between this and when black people were prohibited by private, for-profit companies from sitting at lunch-counters, using restrooms or staying in hotels?

    Has this country learned anything in 50 years? I am not hopeful.

  213. Perhaps the Christians of Arizona should spend a little more time reading their Gospels.

    Matthew 7:1-3
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  214. This legislation is of course utter foolishness on its face, and (quite justifiably) would never withstand even the simplest constitutional scrutiny. That it is so preposterous makes one, and gives one the right to, question the motives of those who put it forward.

  215. i wonder: to what extent has ALEC been involved in promoting these dangerous and discriminatory state laws that seem to be "popping up" around the country?

    i wonder, because several people i know are intent on persuading organizations, etc. planning conventions to boycott states that adopt these laws. i think boycotts similarly should be directed toward members of ALEC.

    there must be a price for damaging discrimination and stupidity.

  216. A private individual is not a licensed business, chartered through its license by the state to transact business with citizens. Absent such a business license, you cannot do business. It is through the governing body that business is permitted, and that body is bound to treat citizens equally, regardless of whom you may or may not like.

    U.S. law has always separated private transactions from public business. Businesses have many legal protections that private individuals do not, such as limited liability and shareholders. You can own or sell a business or shares, but you cannot own people. Businesses have legal responsibilities and are subject to regulation.

    Since businesses are licensed to transact business with citizens, they cannot treat citizens who are engaged in legal conduct differently, especially by refusing to do business. Arizona's legislation amounts to state endorsement of religious discrimination. If a business owner refuses do do business fairly, that business should be closed. If the owner has rights, so do the customers.

  217. Sounds to me that as the discriminators lose market share, there will be great business opportunities in Arizona for those who hang an "all welcome" sign out front.

  218. Did any of you see the video of the guy on the Kiss cam at a ball game who brought a sign to indicate the woman he was with was his sister?

    I was once crossing a busy parking lot with my grown daughter so we held hands as we tried to run the gauntlet and some redneck in a pick-up screamed a homophobic epithet at us.

    Are we all going to have to start wearing signs to kowtow to the religious bigots in this country?

    There is such a thing as right and wrong and the fundies are just dead wrong and if someone does not stand up to them they are going to bring back the dark ages or the Fascism that most of the world is trying to distance themselves from.

    Remember that no one spoke up against these exact same things in 1930s Germany and we all know how that ended.

  219. It's not only "business leaders" who are pushing back. The president of the Arizona State Senate was on MSNBC last night to explain why he and his cronies voted for this noxious, un-American bill and are only now urging Gov. Brewer to veto what they just passed. His utterly lame efforts to explain this bizarre situation scream legislative negligence and malpractice.

    Basically, he said the bill passed last year and was vetoed, so they (the Republican majority) simply passed it again, apparently without giving a moment's thought to the invidious policy at its core: overtly authorizing discrimination. It was only when the boycott threats hit home that he finally reconsidered its wisdom, and he and his party are now in the awkward position of asking the governor to veto a bill they just passed.

    Even for Arizona, this is a new low in unresponsive and irresponsible governance.

  220. Thomas Hall

    OK not being a student of the Bible I did find this:

    Leviticus 20:13
    "If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense." (NLT)

    Wow!! Putting gays and other LGBT people to death for practicing sex with the same gender. I don't think being gay is punishable by death in America, maybe in Uganda.

  221. Wow indeed, no context for your comment? Why did you feel it necessary to post this?

  222. It says nothing about lesbians, so homophobes will have to give women a free pass.

  223. Can someone please clarify where I am obliged to

    provide service to anyone who seeks it from my company ?

    [ I understand the whole Interstate Rulings/Laws.]

    There are many fancy stores in New York City where

    you can only shop by appointment and your credit line

    has to be of a certain amount.

    Likewise many Colleges ask for a picture of you in the

    Application Process - why ? - to check my supposed race

    or whether I am handsome enough to attend their institution.

    It may not be nice, it may not be social but where is it

    in the Constitution that I have to accept your business ?

  224. The obligation is that if you open your store to the public at large, you can't discriminate on bases that have no basis except bigotry. Credit line requirements are based on ability to pay, which is a reasonable requirement. Being white or heterosexual isn't.

  225. If it can be proved that the college is using those photos to deny people based on race, then they'll get busted for discrimination, because that kind of discrimination is illegal.

    Making an appointment or having sufficient credit is in no way similar to gender, sexual orientation or race. I'm not sure how you missed that.

  226. The argument that the 1st Amendment supports this bill is a canard -- people are not "individually" a religion. The bill's argument is instead based on personal religious values.

    My religious values conflict with many Republican policies, so the bill would allow me to deny service to Republicans. Likewise my religious values also support women's right to reproductive healthcare and oppose patriarchy in all forms. Thus the bill allows me to deny service to anyone who is anti choice or sexist.

    Even the writers of this bizarre bill don't seem to have thought out where it would lead!

  227. Just when we thought that the LGBT community was moving in the fast tract toward equal treatment under the law, the Christian Taliban has come riding over the hills in Arizona and (unfortunately) other states. Under the guise of Religious Freedom, the Christian Taliban have set the stage for Christian Sharia to gain a foothold here in the USA. So once again we see the unconstitutional use of the Constitution to allow hatred to be disguised as Religious Freedom.

    We are a secular nation and it is time for all good people to come to the aid of their country. We MUST stand tall and tell these un-apologetically intolerant bigots that "We the people..." will NO longer be tolerant of their crusade to erode the separation of church and state. Freedom of Religion MUST also include Freedom FROM Religion, as the Founding Fathers intended!!!!