So word came out last night that the AZ Governor vetoed the bill that was supposed to protect religious business owners from being sued for denying services to people when those services would violate their religious beliefs. Those who fight for Gay Rights are celebrating. Those who fight for religious rights…not so much.
So in the end, what we can say happened is that the Gov did was protect the civil rights of people….at the cost of civil rights for people. It basically says that your right to live your life as you believe you should is trumped by the right of someone else to live their life as they believe they should, if you are a religious person. You do not deserve legal protections that would prevent you from being harassed and attacked for your lifestyle in the face of another person’s lifestyle that you do not agree with.
Well done, well done.
Now, not voting the law into existence doesn’t violate the constitution. The Constitution and Amendments states that the US government cannot a law abridging the ability to practice ones religion. It may however, violate the spirit of the law since it now permits people to use the law to abridge the rights of others and doesn’t protect people.
The worst part of it is that the decision to veto the bill wasn’t clean. Not only was there protests from both sides (which is fair) multimillion and multibillion dollar corporations were threatening to pull their businesses out of the state of AZ. This is not fair, and it is prejudicial. Businesses who do not have their offices in AZ were legislating what laws AZ could and could not pass, based on politics. Those businesses now get a boost from the GLBT community for throwing their support against the bill. The Citizens of AZ, whose government voted to pass this bill in both its House and Senate, have had their state laws dictated by others.
Yes, some of those who supported the bill and helped passed it have changed their positions. They supported it when talk was to protect religious people. Suddenly when they are being called homophobes and businesses are threatening to pull out of the state, and they change their positions.
Does that sound like someone changing their mind legitimately because they decided the bill was wrong, or because they were being threatened with slander and economic leverage? The Governor had spoken of the need of such protections before, and suddenly she changes her mind when all this money is supposedly going to leave her state.
Money, not equality, civil rights, or doing the right thing, determined the outcome of this story. So for those who cheer in the GLBT community, know this. You may have “Struck a blow for GLBT rights.” You have also struck a blow against all civil rights, and you did not win this victory for equality. You’ve proven that equality is secondary to economics, and someday, it may be your rights that are lost because of a payday.