Gay Star News reports:
‘You know, the bill is in transmittal and I don’t have to make a decision until next Friday so I’ve got plenty of time,’ Jan Brewer said, on 22 February, as reported by ABC News…. Brewer, also a Republican, told reporters she needed to study the bill first. ‘I need to explore it,’ she said.
More and more public figures are lining up against the bill. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (D) draws a parallel to the whites-only laws in the South.
Discrimination by private businesses led to some of the most noteworthy moments of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was targeted at the Montgomery Bus Lines, sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of the bus. Civil rights activists who claimed white-only lunch counters as their own were subject to arrest, beatings and worse. I have spent a great deal of time in Mexico working to undo damage done by SB 1070 to our state’s ability to benefit from trade with one of the world’s emerging economies. I remember the fallout from Arizona’s long delay in passing a Martin Luther King Holiday. SB 1062 and HB 2153 are not only offensive, but if signed into law, will cause our state and our region significant economic harm. I ask our governor in the strongest possible terms to veto this legislation, and I urge Tucsonans to contact her with that request as well.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) also spoke out.
On Top Magazine reports:
“It would put a national and international spotlight on Arizona in a way that’s uphelpful to our economy,” Stanton told gay glossy The Advocate. “It’s the wrong direction to go. The city I lead is a very open city, and we love our diversity,” Stanton said of Phoenix, which has an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Even some in the GOP are questioning the bill. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (R), also a gubernatorial candidate, things SB 1062 is bigotry, pure and simple.
“As a Christian conservative, I am very troubled that religious rights are being trampled as part of the current debate on changes in our society. But I am also a member of a church that has experienced severe persecution because of its beliefs. I firmly believe that discrimination or bigotry in any form is unacceptable. I am concerned that SB1062 carries real potential for unintended legal consequences that could negatively impact our most basic rights, including the freedom of religion. This bill could have a detrimental impact on Arizona’s business environment at a time when our economy is still fragile. Our state must keep focused on creating jobs and building a strong future for our children.”
Even one GOP Senator, state Sen. Steve Pierce, who voted for the bill is now backtracking.
“I don’t like the negative picture of Arizona, and I’m on board asking the governor to veto the bill. To say (the bill is) anti-gay is following the feeding frenzy. I have friends that are gay and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. This is blown way out of proportion and it’s too bad.”
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce also opposes the bill.
The Chamber tweeted: “We join with @phxchamber Greater Phx Leadership and S. Ariz. leadership in requesting veto of SB1062. Official statement tomorrow.”
Star Trek actor (and openly gay) George Takei released his own statement on the bill.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
“The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear. So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.”
And gay actor Harvey Fierstein chimes in.
“Sometimes I am left dumbfounded by the stupidity of politicians and their citizens. One would have thought that Arizona learned its lesson years ago when they passed horrific laws discriminating against their Hispanic community. They lost tourism, and population and the respect of the nation… Well, they are at it again with what they are calling a “Religious Freedom” law that is actually a law that would make discriminating against the gay community lawful. A policeman could say that his religion bans contact with homosexuals and just leave a victim to die. Doctors could refuse service to the LGBT community. A bus driver could throw you off the bus because his bible doesn’t accept homosexuality…It’s the MOST ABSURD AND HATEFUL LAW that anyone has crafted since… I don’t know… maybe the DOM laws? I hope their Governor turns her back on this hatred. If not… oh, my children, if not… We are going to have a lot of fun suing them down to bankruptcy!!!! I’m already looking up flights.”
The bill should hit Brewer’s desk today.
Edge Boston reports:
The Arizona Senate is expected to send a bill allowing business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays to Gov. Jan Brewer as early as Monday. That action will start a five-day clock for the Republican governor to act on a proposed law she herself calls controversial.
And former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd puts his money on Brewer vetoing the bill.
“I think, in the end, Gov. Brewer is probably going to veto this because it seems like an easy veto for her to do because of everything that’s going in the business economy there. This is one of those problems when people use religion as a way to sort of enforce discriminatory practices. People used religion back in the 1860s when they defended slavery. They used religion to defend slavery. We’ve used religion to go to war. People have criticized Islam because they use religion to fight people and kill people. This is the problem with that. In the end I think she vetoes it because there’s no way this can survive.”
So will she or won’t she?
Think Progress reports:
Last week, it seemed like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was delaying taking action on the infamous anti-homosexuality bill, suggesting he was interested in hearing from more U.S. scientists about the nature of homosexuality. On Monday, though, he signed the bill into law. The law, often referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill because previous versions of it included the death penalty, allows for a lifetime jail sentence for people found guilty of being gay.
Some more recent versions of the bill have still included reference to a different law that did allow for the death penalty. First-time offenders can be punished with 14 years in jail. Those who promote LGBT issues would also be in violation of the law, as would anybody who officiates a same-sex marriage. Museveni explained that he signed the bill because he was concerned that gay people were “recruiting normal people” into homosexuality, using them as prostitutes, and exhibiting themselves.
In its lawsuit against Scott Lively, the Center for Constitutional Rights calls him directly responsible for the new law.
In addition to putting the lives of LGBTI Ugandans at serious risk, in signing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, President Museveni has criminalized the existence and work of our client, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and other advocacy organizations in violation of the Ugandan constitution and international law. The Center for Constitutional Rights holds right-wing U.S. evangelical Scott Lively directly responsible: he has been working in Uganda since 2002 to outlaw the speech and assembly of LGBTI people and effectively silence and erase the community from political life.
Desmond Tutu spoke out against the law. Pink News reports:
Archbishop Tutu said that the was “very disheartened” that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is intending to sign a bill into law that could see gay people facing lifetime prison sentence. “In South Africa, Apartheid police used to rush into bedrooms where whites were suspected of making love to blacks,” Archbishop Tutu said in a statement. “It was demeaning to those whose ‘crime’ was to love each other, it was demeaning to the policemen ? and it was a blot on our entire society.”
“The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love… There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.”
It’s time to shun Uganda and Nigeria in the international community. No more aid for countries that treat their LGBT citizens as criminals.
Just got this from my Aunt in Tucson who is following the whole Right to Discriminate law with great interest and disgust. It was written by Rabbi Stephen Kahn, of Scottsdale’s Congregation Beth Israel.
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Governor Brewer:
I am the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, founded in 1920. I write this with a heavy heart on behalf of our 750 families (roughly 2,000 members). Today, I respectfully implore you to act with bold and courageous leadership by vetoing House Bill 2153 and Senate Bill 1062 without delay.
Simply put, these bills are beyond “controversial”. Among many things, the final version of the legislation enables a business owner to refuse services to any patron based on their own personal religious proclivities, or even worse, a very loose definition of religious freedom. I cannot help but recall the spirit of the Third Reich’s laws established in 1935 at Nuremberg which legally permitted discrimination and anti-Semitism under the same implicit legislative construct as the bills passed earlier this week. As a Jew, I cannot help but feel that if a business owner, who is “informed” by their interpretation of “scripture” that a Jewish person cannot eat at their restaurant because I do not accept Christ as “Savior” that they would indeed have the legally supported permission to deny me service in their place of business.
As an American, I will always fully support the constitutionally protected rights of every citizen; the right of free expression of their own religious beliefs and convictions whether or not I personally/theologically agree with their beliefs or practices. However, as an American, a Jew and a Rabbi, I know that religious freedom does not permit me the right to oppress or discriminate against others because I think their theology or way of life is wrong. This is the antithesis of constitutional freedoms and the foundation of our country. The potential – both implicitly and explicitly – of legalizing a person or person’s right to persecute and discriminate against others under the guise of religious freedom is both intellectually objectionable and theologically corrupt of any scriptural justification I know of, especially in a free society.
Please do no sign this legislation which – based on historic precedent for our people in 1930’s Nazi Germany – could become THE seminal moment which will lead to horrifying consequences for the People of Arizona.
Rabbi Stephen Kahn
Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Elizabeth Schwartz, Miami-based LGBT Family and Estate Planning Attorney
Vanessa & Melanie Alenier, Jorge Diaz & Don Johnston – Two of the six couples who are joining Equality Florida Institute as plaintiffs in in the lawsuit to overturn Florida’s ban on marriage equality.
Monday, February 24 @ 6:30 PM
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Register at http://www.eqfl.org/event/teletownhall. Just prior the town hall, you will receive a call providing the phone number to join the conversation. Participants will also have a chance to ask questions.
Last month, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami on behalf of six same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute, seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides.
Oregon won’t defend its marriage ban in court, and a marriage lawsuit in Virginia might have reached a premature end. Plus polling from Louisiana shows progress, but it’s been slow.
Are you in the trenches, and have a unique perspective, or can you report on local news regarding the fight for LGBT rights in your part of the world?
We’re looking for LGBT activists who want to be a part of the struggle. If you’re interested, shoot us an email at email@example.com.
–Scott & Mark
Purple Unions and Gay Marriage Watch
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The New York Times reports:
In meetings hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington in late 2010, opponents of same-sex marriage discussed the urgent need to generate new studies on family structures and children, according to recent pretrial depositions of two witnesses in the Michigan trial and other participants. One result was the marshaling of $785,000 for a large-scale study by Mark Regnerus, a meeting participant and a sociologist at the University of Texas who will testify in Michigan. The trial involves a challenge to Michigan’s constitutional restriction of marriage to a union between a man and a woman, brought by a lesbian couple who want to marry and legally adopt each other’s children. This time, four social science researchers, all of whom attended at least one of the Heritage Foundation meetings and went on to publish new reports, are scheduled to testify in favor of Michigan’s ban.
Have we mentioned that the “study” has been widely discredited?
But professional rejections of Dr. Regnerus’s conclusions were swift and severe. In a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court last year in two same-sex marriage cases, a report by the 14,000-member American Sociological Association noted that more than half the subjects whom Dr. Regnerus had described as children of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” were the offspring of failed opposite-sex marriages in which a parent later engaged in same-sex behavior, and that many others never lived with same-sex parents. “If any conclusion can be reached from Regnerus’s study,” the association said, “it is that family stability is predictive of child well-being.”
Nevertheless, it continues to rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes. Or should that be zombie-like? They knew what they wanted, and went out and bought a fake study that said that gays were bad parents. And shame on Social Science Research for publishing it.
Mexico: Spain’s former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said prohibiting same sex couples from marrying is absurd, during a visit to Leon, Guanajuato. full story
Russia: A local gay activist interrupted anti-gay evangelist Scott Lively’s speech in DC. full story
Russia: NBC reporter Bob Costas took a moment during coverage of the Sochi Games to comment on Russia’s anti gay laws. full story
USA: Freedom to Marry is launching a $1 Million ad campaign across the US South. full story
USA, California: Politix looks at how history has vindicated CA Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who as Mayor of San Francisco threw open the doors of City Hall in 2004 to let gay and lesbian couples marry. full story
USA, Illinois: Towleroad.com reports on the first same sex weddings taking place in Illinois. full story
USA, Michigan: The hearing in the marriage equality lawsuit begins Tuesday – Freep.com takes an in-depth look. full story
USA, Oregon: LGBT rights supporters and opponents are debating the 15 word ballot title for a proposed Right to Discriminate initiative. full story
Pink News reports:
The bill, which passed in the House, would have allowed Virginia to appoint lawmakers to defend its gay marriage ban if the governor or attorney general refused to do so. Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring announced last month that the state would side with same-sex couples who are seeking to have the ban struck down, rather than defend it.
Pink News notes the ruling for marriage equality was held pending a possible appeal:
A US federal judge on Valentine’s Day overturned Virginia’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling by Judge Arenda Wright Allen did not immediately apply pending a possible appeal, but now that this bill has failed, it is unlikely that an appeal will take place.
So is that it? Can same sex couples marry shortly in the state? Maybe Virginia really is for lovers.
Conservative Christian groups in Arizona cheered the passage Thursday of legislation that would allow individuals and businesses in the state to deny service to same-sex couples due to religious beliefs. All eyes have shifted to Governor Jan Brewer, who must now decide whether to sign the bill. Similar legislation died in Kansas last week, but has also been introduced in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
The Arizona law seems to apply to services beyond those tied to weddings, but same-sex weddings are the impetus for these bills. Specifically, they are in response to lawsuits against three different Christians who refused to photograph, bake a cake, and sell flowers for same-sex weddings. The backers of these laws claim that a Christian cannot, in good conscience, provide a good or service for a same-sex wedding because it violates the teachings of Christianity.
If these bills become law, we could see same-sex couples being denied service not just by photographers and florists, but also restaurants and hotels and pretty much anyone else who can tie their discrimination to a religious belief.
In Phoenix and Tucson, protests were held against the bill.
Major protests took place this evening in Phoenix and Tucson in opposition to the bill passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs. CNN’s AC360 led off their show live from the protests in Phoenix.
Also on CNN, Anderson Cooper grilled one of the Arizona GOP reps supporting the bill. It’s amazing – he just sticks to his talking points and refuses to admit the bill could be used to ban anyone other than LGBT folks from any business in the state. Joe.My.God tipped us to this one.
Meanwhile, AZ Senator John McCain’s daughter Meghan is appalled. Joe.My.God reports on her tweets:
“The state that I grew up in and love so much is literally making discriminating against citizens legal. HOW IS THIS AMERICAN OR RIGHT?” and “The Arizona legislature should be ashamed of themselves. This bill is un-American and embarrassing for all of Arizona and the country.” and finally “@GovBrewer please do the right thing for ALL Arizonans and veto SB 1062 or be the governor remembered for legalizing discrimination.”
Meanwhile, the Treasurer and Secretary of state (both Republicans) are also urging the Governor to veto the bill.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
Arizona’s Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Treasurer Doug Ducey, both GOP candidates for governor, say a bill allowing business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs should be vetoed. Bennett and Ducey join the growing list of state leaders and Republican gubernatorial candidates who say Gov. Jan Brewer should veto the bill, SB 1062, that was passed in the state legislature this week.
And the same article cites the economic damage the bill is already doing before being signed into law:
Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said his office had quick reaction to the bill, telling KPHO-TV that four companies considering expansion in the Phoenix area have crossed Arizona off their lists. Another business that was planning to invest $100 million in the state has put its deal on hold, and two companies indicated today that they’ve been fired, because the clients don’t want to do business in Arizona, said Broome. Broome said the controversial bill will complicate the state’s brand, just as it is gearing up to host next year’s Super Bowl. “If the governor doesn’t veto this bill, the effect on Arizona will be instantaneous and devastating,” he said.
Arizona’s other US Senator, Jeff Flake, tweeted his opposition too.
“I hope Governor Brewer vetoes SB 1062.” Flake is no ally of the LGBT community and has a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign. But to my mind that only makes today’s move only more important as it probably comes from the standpoint of what the bill could mean for Arizona’s economy.
So what will Brewer do? AZCentral looks for clues:
The Republican governor plans to meet with advisers in and out of her office, members of the business community, lawmakers and others as she weighs whether to sign the bill into law, her advisers said. “They’ll go over every aspect of the bill — the pros and the cons, the risks — all of it,” said one insider familiar with the inner workings of the Governor’s Office and how Brewer approaches legislation. “In this instance, you have a bill that had a party-line vote. It puts her in a difficult spot.” Brewer was in Washington, D.C., attending a conference of governors and wasn’t expected to return until Tuesday. But some factions set to work Friday attempting to influence her decision.
According to AZCentral, the bill would likely actually reach her desk Monday, s I guess that gives her until Friday to make the decision?
These “right to discriminate” bills, which would let just about anyone discriminate against just about anyone because God, have been popping up all across the country, but is there someone co-ordinating all this behind the scenes?
Becca Morn at America Blog may have the answer:
As reported by Al Jazeera America: Cornerstone in Idaho, the Kansas Family Policy Council, and the Center for Arizona Policy, which supports the bill there, are all part of a network of 38 state “family policy councils” pressing for these laws under the umbrella of Citizen Link, the advocacy arm of the conservative Christian powerhouse Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is James Dobson’s hate-mill, by the way, now headed by Jim Daly. Another backer is the American Religious Freedom Program, headed by Brian Walsh — who disingenuously claims these efforts are nothing more than trying to ensure that priests and florists don’t have to participate in Big Gay Weddings. And the ARFP sounds familiar, that’s because it’s part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think-tank and lobbying organization run by Ed Whelan, former Reagan official in the DoJ and also former clerk for Justice Scalia.
The fact that it’s legal to discriminate against LGBTs in many states is nothing new. Twenty-nine states already have some form of ‘religious exemption’. But now this AFRP group has drafted its wide-reaching bill, and according to reports in the Wichita Eagle, has been shopping it around to state legislatures around the country. Brian Walsh, executive director of the ARFP, which supports religious freedom measures, acknowledges that his group consulted with the legislators on the bill, but he says that lots of other groups did as well: “We gave them suggestions and they took some of them.” Walsh says that ARFP was contacted by legislators who wrote the Tennessee bill and that the group frequently talked to legislators in South Dakota about “religious freedom” but not the state’s specific bill. Julie Lynde, executive director of Cornerstone Family Council in Idaho, one of many state groups that are part of Citizen Link, a branch of Focus on the Family, told Al Jazeera America, “We’ve been involved in working on the language” of the Idaho bill. Another member of Citizen Link, the Arizona Policy Center, has been active in supporting the Arizona bill.
And why are these proposed laws written so broadly? Becca thinks that’s the point:
In my opinion, Whelan’s organization didn’t write a sloppy bill to shop around. I believe the bill does exactly what it means to do, which is something the far-right conservatives have been itching to do ever since the first sweeping civil rights bills were passed in the 1960s: Repeal them. Not just some, and not just to enable anti-gay and anti-trans discrimination, but all of the equal rights laws. Using ‘religious freedom’ as the cudgel to roll back women’s reproductive freedoms is just another prong of the attack.
It’s a great article, going into detail on all these laws, including some I was unaware of. Read the whole thing to get a better idea of what’s lurking below the surface of all these “right to discriminate” bills.
Here’s our daily quick round-up of the marriage equality and LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!
Germany: A lawsuit seeking to open up adoption rights to LGBT couples has been dismissed on a technicality. full story
Russia: A judge has ruled that an LGBT social network doesn’t violate the country’s “gay propaganda” ban full story
Uganda: Has President Museveni signed the anti-gay law yet? it’s unclear, but he says of the US can prove people are born gay, the country might revisit the issue. Fat chance they’d actually do so. full story
UK, England: A London rally against Nigeria’s anti-gay laws was held this week. full story
UK, Wales: There will be no gay Queens in Wales. Hey, you know what we mean. full story
Vatican: Cardinal Raymond Burke says Pope Francis is still adamantly opposed to abortion and marriage equality. full story
USA: The Daily beast takes a look at Justice Kennedy’s role in the marriage equality fight, and other issues central to the country today. full story
USA, California: A group of west coast Methodist churches are bucking the church leadership and pushing for allowing same sex weddings in their cathedrals. full story
USA, Idaho: LGBT activists were once again arrested in Boise yesterday. full story
USA, Indiana: An anti-gay state Senator has been demoted after opposing party leadership on the decision to approve the gay marriage ban without an amendment. full story
USA, Indiana: NOM has backed down in Indiana, and won’t sue to try to force the marriage equality ban onto the 2014 ballot. full story
USA, Indiana: Governor Mike Pence, who once called for a Federal Amendment to ban marriage equality, is falling back on the state’s rights argument. full story
USA, New Mexico: The legislature adjourned without acting on a proposed marriage equality ban. full story
USA, North Carolina: Two transgender women have won their case to legally change their names. full story
USA, Oregon: Oregon United for Marriage has temporarily suspended its ballot campaign while it awaits a court ruling on marriage equality. full story
USA, Texas: Mayor Mike Rawlings is once again blocking a pro-LGBT resolution. full story
Are You My Daddy Husband?
Continuing an absurd week in Seriously, Kentucky Republican Senate candidate and businessman Matt Bevin thinks marriage equality will lead to parent-child marriages, so people can pass things on to their children “financially and otherwise”. Um, does Bevin not know that, as the parent of a child, you can already pass things on “financially and otherwise”?
My Thin Mints Taste a Little Gay
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly worries that the Girl Scouts once employed a spokesperson who was a member of a “controversial punk band with homosexual overtones”. Really? Looking up “The Dead Betties” on iTunes to purchase some tracks…
If You Like One Kind of Sticking It In, Why Not Another?
A spokesman for the AFA is criticizing two Mississippi towns for passing LGBT anti discrimination ordinances – saying that intravenous drug use is as dangerous as homosexuality, so why not approve that too? Hey, isn’t being an idiot harmful to your health, too?
Let’s Add a P(edophile) to LGBT
Oh, these right-wing groups, always so clever. The Minnesota Child Protection League spokesperson Barb Anderson said “The LGBTQQIA will soon be adding the letter P for ‘pedophile’ because they have now declared themselves a sexual orientation, that they’re born that way and don’t they have a right to their sexual desires?” Maybe she failed to notice that the thing LGBT folks have in common, bedsides the fact that they are all marginalized by society, is the fact that they are all consenting adults? But why let a little fact like that get in the way of a good gay-bashing?
Gays Are Perverting Love
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins says gay marriage is perverting the word love. I’m sorry, but this guy is just an ass and doesn’t have the slightest idea what he is talking about. I love my husband just as much as any straight couple I know loves one another, and more than many. And everyone around us friends and family – sees it too. It’s time for you to quit espousing your hateful, bigoted, wrong-headed views, Mr. Perkins. The world is nothing like what you think it is, and we’re sick of fighting well-heeled, misguided, bigoted idiots like you.
The Supreme Court is Totally On Our Side
NOM thinks the fact that the US Supreme Court issued a stay in the Utah wedding case means his side will win when the Court next considers marriage equality. He has a short memory – the courts also stayed the previous cases before they handed NOM its ass on a plate.
No One Should Impose Their Views on Us – That’s Our Job
As Uganda’s President prepares to sign the anti-gay bill into law, he is complaint that others are trying to force their views on Uganda. Which is rich, given that the bill he is about to sign would force Christian views of homosexuality on an entire country in hugely painful and damaging way.
The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service. “I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”
So it’s official – the “freedom” the GOP is always talking about is the freedom to discriminate.
Governor Brewer also tweeted that she would make a decision by next Friday:
“I will make my decision by next Friday… But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it.”
Which may be problematic, because the bill automatically becomes law if she does nothing by either Tuesday or Thursday (5 days or 5 business days).
Mayors of two central Arizona cities are ruing Governor Brewer to veto the bill.
The Democratic mayors of Phoenix and Tempe took to Twitter to denounce Arizona’s anti-gay bill and demand that it be vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Notably quiet is the GOP mayor of Mesa, Scott Smith, who is running for governor. Also silent so far is Jay Tibshraeny, the GOP mayor of Chandler, Arizona’s fourth-largest city. (But he DID just tweet about the Ostrich Festival. Priorities!) Scottsdale GOP mayor Jim Lane, who opposed his city’s successful LGBT rights ordinance in 2007, has also not yet uttered a word. Ditto for the GOP mayor of Gilbert, John Lewis. The Democratic mayor of Tucson, Jonathan Rothschild, rarely uses Twitter and has not yet responded to the press, but he is an ardent supporter of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage.
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, (D) Phoenix, says the bill sends a very bad message about the state.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
Campbell, the Democratic minority leader, said during Thursday’s debate that gays and lesbians across the country would get the message that they’re not welcome in Arizona. “We’re telling them, ‘We don’t like you. We don’t want you here. We’re not going to protect you,” he said.
It’s already hard to go back to my home state to visit my family – my husband, Mark, is hispanic. And now this?
Meanwhile, Joe.My.God points out that many of the national LGBT groups seem to be silent on the Arizona bill:
Unless I’ve missed something, there has not been one response from any of these organizations in the 24 hours since the Arizona legislature voted to legalize anti-gay discrimination. I’ve gotten zero outraged press releases and there’s basically nothing about Arizona on the websites of the Human Rights Campaign, AFER, Lambda Legal, NCLR, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Freedom To Marry, or GLAAD. Yesterday HRC did tweet out a link to five-sentence blog post and the Task Force today retweeted somebody else’s message to contact Gov. Jan Brewer. But that’s it, as far I can I tell.
And right on schedule, here’s something from HRC.
Following the Senate passage of Arizona’s so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill. “This bill is bad for business, bad for the LGBT community and bad for all Arizonans. Governor Brewer, who herself described it as very controversial, must veto it and send a strong message that legally sanctioned discrimination has no place in Arizona,” Griffin said. “Religious groups have a long established first amendment ability to operate according to their own beliefs. However, when individuals or businesses go out into the commercial market, they must abide by legal non-discrimination provisions,” he said.
Hundreds rallied at the Capitol to urge Governor Brewer to veto the bill.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
Hundreds of people have gathered at the Arizona Capitol to demand that Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. Friday afternoon’s protests come a day after the House passed a bill pushed by conservative Republicans that adds protections from discrimination lawsuits to individuals and businesses. The Senate passed the same bill on Wednesday. Gov. Jan Brewer must sign or veto Senate Bill 1062 by the end of next week.
On the other side, predictably, NOM is urging Governor Brewer to sign the bill:
Both the Arizona Senate and House have approved a bill that would prevent business owners from being targeted in lawsuits for declining to participate in same-sex wedding celebrations on the grounds of religious objections. With the spate of lawsuits we’ve seen around the country brought against business owners who have declined service for same-sex ‘marriage’ celebrations, we know how critical legislation of this nature is to protect the First Amendment rights of people of faith. The Arizona legislature should be commended for passing this crucial bill, and now we must ask Governor Brewer to sign it immediately into law!
The local Center for Arizona Policy, an anti gay group that co-authored the bill, is also pushing for her signature.
Even before the last vote was cast in the House, opponents of SB 1062 started a mass calling and email campaign into Governor Brewer’s office to try to pressure her into vetoing this important bill. It is critical that the Governor hears from YOU that no one should be forced to violate their religious beliefs merely because they go to work or start a business!
Our favorite story of the day? This one, from Tucson, about a pizzeria owner exercising his own right to discriminate.
Posted to the Facebook page of Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson. The restaurant has also posted this: “As a longtime employer and feeder of the gay community, Rocco’s reserves the right to eject any State Senators we see fit to kick out. That is all.” The photo has been shared over 2000 times and many commenters are vowing to patronize Rocco’s.
This guy has the right idea. I’ve already asked all my Tucson relatives to go and grab a slice of Rocco’s pizza.
Now that a judge has ruled that Cook County must issue marriage licenses to same sex couples right away, rather than waiting for June, other counties may soon follow.
Although U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled Friday that same-sex marriages can begin immediately in Cook County, supporters of the law said her decision opens the door for gay marriages to begin in all of Illinois’ 102 counties.
In Jackson County, Clerk Larry Reinhardt said he’s awaiting further direction from legal counsel. But, he said it wouldn’t be a problem if he was directed to begin issuing marriage licenses before the state law goes into effect June 1. “We’re already set up for the June implementation,” Reinhardt said Friday. “It should be an easy transition.”
Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean said county lawyers recommended the county not move forward to begin issuing licenses. In a letter from the Macon County state’s attorney’s office, Bean was told that “unless and until ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction, you, as Macon County Clerk, may not violate the standing law of the State of Illinois by issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples at this time.”
On Top Magazine reports:
“Many couples in Illinois have waited long enough for marriage equality,” Quinn said in a statement, “and today’s ruling means thousands of Illinois couples no longer have to wait. Our law is a victory for equal rights in America, and shows that citizens and lawmakers can come together on issues of fairness and human rights. I applaud U.S. District Court Judge Sharon J. Coleman for her stance in recognizing that ‘there is no reason to delay further’ giving all couples the right to marry in Cook County. Every county across the state should enjoy the same freedom without having to wait until June,” Quinn added.
Will the other 101 counties in Illinois follow his lead?
This one is an interesting blog because it was posted in The Huffington Post yesterday and then taken down shortly thereafter. I don’t know whether it offended somebody or the gods of HuffPost decided I’ve had the privilege of too many columns lately, but it was a really, really important blog so I reposted it on my own site. Please click here to read it!
I am sick to death of watching married couples air their dirty laundry on social media. Facebook was never meant for the primary method of sharing gory details of your derailing marriage. Please check this out and share it with friends who really need the advice. Maybe they’ll take it better coming from me.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She is also the star of TLC’s reality wedding show “Wedding Island,” . Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island), Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm), and Boutique in Vieques (a clothing and home décor shop). Sandy has a regular column on the Huffington Post and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients! Follow Sandy on Twitter @SandyMalone_ and @WeddingsinVQS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SandyMaloneWIV.