Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The new front in the gay rights battle

In the wake of Michael Sam and a host of federal court rulings on the right side of same-sex marriage, it might be hard to remember that there are still bumps ahead for gay rights. So along comes Arizona with a moment that could tell us just how far we have to go. 

Senate Bill 1062 would allow businesses to refuse service to any customer based on the religious beliefs of the business owner. The bill passed the Arizona Senate last week. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is mulling whether to sign it.

The bill, by the way, is unnecessary. Legal experts note that Arizona doesn't have anti-discrimination laws. A business owner already can refuse to serve homosexuals without having to claim religious justification for doing so. Also, U.S. law won't allow for some forms of discrimination - against blacks and women, for example, no matter what your state or religious beliefs say. So what's the point of the Arizona bill? To make a political statement, of course. No matter that doing so might encourage business owners to act out and discriminate.

But there are other statements being made, too. Arizona's Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, already have urged Brewer to veto. And Brewer, a staunch conservative, seems to understand that the bill already is inviting attention that Arizona doesn't want. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said this week that if Brewer signs the legislation, the NFL should pull the 2015 Super Bowl out of the state.

Used to be those kinds of threats would be met with more resistance from governors in places like Arizona. Brewer's hesitancy is a statement in itself - an acknowledgement that the country is not really split on this issue anymore, and that even in places like Arizona, discriminating against gays is no longer a sure political winner.

The governor has until Friday to decide.

Peter St. Onge


Wiley Coyote said...

As opposed to King Obama and Court Jester Holder who ignore Federal laws on the books, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with them.

Garth Vader said...

A business is private property and should have the right to serve or not serve anyone, at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. And in response any other person or group should have the right to publicize such denial of service.

A law will not make a person a bigot, nor remove bigotry from his soul. I never really understood the Denny's and Cracker Barrel lawsuits - why would someone want to give their money to an establishment that doesn't want to serve them? Go to another restaurant!

Shamash said...

Aw, cmon.

Everyone knows that forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.

Once everything is allowed everywhere, people will be so bored.

Ghoul said...

Kinda funny how the Observer touts discrimination by private entities, all the while they discriminate against opposing viewpoints by blocking Facebook comments from a large number of people.

Pete, are you the pot or the kettle?

Beijing 2010 - Ni hao! said...

Hmmm...remember when back in the days it was "colored" people that were not allowed to enter some business? ironic how the majority of African Americans oppose same sex equality....

Michael Snyder said...

I don't get this one. Why would I give my business to someone who disapproves of me or what I stand for? I believe this case surrounds a gay couple wanting a business with owners who disapproved of gay weddings to provide a wedding cake. If I were the couple why would I give money to this business. I'm sure there are numerous bakeries in town that could have provided the cake and I bet many would be gay-friendly.

It is my opinion that someone was looking to be offended.

Archiguy said...

Michael - Just substitute what blacks had to endure for what gays go through now and you'll have your answer.

It's universally accepted now that refusing service to someone on the basis of their race was a reprehensible thing to do. Blacks had to eat at separate restaurants, sleep at separate hotels, drink at separate fountains, and sit in the back of the bus. They used the Bible as justification back then as well. They even codified it into law: "separate but equal" (which was anything but).

How is that any different from what these business owners are trying to do these people on the basis of sexual orientation? How is it any more "right"? Again, remember they used religion to rationalize those same actions against a different minority group back then too.

Michael Snyder said...

Archiguy: So what we are saying is that we can compel a business into doing something. I say let the market decide. If this couple believes they were discriminated against they should put something in the newspaper, put it in the editorials, put it on Yelp. If it were me, I would make this business as uncomfortable as possible. They will lose business and eventually realize that they were wrong. On a different note, I have a friend who was supposed to work the CIAA tournament. She was told no because she was white and they only wanted African-American women working this event. Is this also discrimination?

Anonymous said...

>> Senate Bill 1062 would allow businesses to refuse service to any customer based on the religious beliefs of the business owner.

How did this become about gays?? In Peters next editorial, tomorrow is supposed to be sunny...Sonny Bono was married to Cher...Cher has a strong fan following...gays like Cher...AZ hates gays!!

Garth Vader said...


The difference is that quite a bit of the segregation you refer to was coded into law. For example, Montgomery Alabama passed a law that segregated buses; this is the law that Rosa Parks defied. Parks then helped organize a boycott (a free-market response to discrimination - imagine that!).

Archiguy said...

So you think segregation would have ended, "separate but equal" would have been abolished, black students admitted to southern universities, and full civil rights would have been granted to African Americans if the full force of the federal government had not intervened?

You honestly think isolated boycotts of a few specific businesses would have done the trick? That we'd be just as far along today without these segregationists being forced to do something about which they had "religious and moral reservations"? Seriously?

I don't think so. Sometimes people just have to have their butts kicked in order to do the right thing, because they're hell-bent on doing the wrong thing.

Sometimes that's the only way to make social progress and remove discrimination. Eventually, as in the case with civil rights, society catches up and a new, better, fairer equilibrium is reached. That's what happening now in the courts with respect to gay rights, and it's long overdue.

Matt said...

I feel like all of this is missing the basic point: where in any Christian text would you find anything that could justify refusing service to people who believe differently than you? The Bible doesn't say it; Jesus said exactly the opposite, in fact. Even if you hate the thought of gay people and wish them all eternal damnation, no part of your religious belief is affected by extending the services you're paid to deliver to them. There is no action "defended" by this law that can be described as an act of religious freedom. No, this law defends one's "right" to be a bigot, and nothing more. You can argue free market BS til the cows come home, but this does nothing but say "Hey, it's ok to hate them. We got you." Well, it's not, and these measures will all be gone with the wind very soon. Enjoy it while you can, ye sinful, hateful flock, cause it's not going to last long...

Garth Vader said...

Archi, you still demonstrate a pathological inability to differentiate between the public and the private. Brown vs. Board dealt with PUBLIC education. Rosa Parks broke a segregationist LAW; she didn't violate a private restaurants "No Blacks Allowed" sign. She boycotted PUBLIC BUSES, not PRIVATE BUSINESSES. And when you say "Southern universities" you mean PUBLIC ones. George Wallace didn't stand on the steps of a private university, he stood on the steps of the University of Alabama.

So to summarize:

Publicly-funded institutions: government cannot discriminate

Private businesses: the free market rules

Question - do you think it's "discrimination" when black families send their kids to HBCUs?

Archiguy said...

And you Garth, demonstrate a pathological inability to understand that discrimination in either the public or private sphere violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Let a private business violate the ADA and see how far it gets. Let it try to block someone of color from freely doing business in its PUBLIC location and see how long it takes before a lawsuit shuts it down. If you don't see this, then your pathology supersedes mine.

As Matt so accurately said in his post above, you can argue all the "free market" B.S. you want. It still comes down to plain, old bigotry. A pathological behavior that, since you're so determined to defend, you must endorse. Says a lot about who you really are, doesn't it?

Garth Vader said...


Looks like Hollywood liberals don't agree with your characterization of restaurants as "public":

WeHo Bar To ‘Deny Entry’ To Lawmakers Who Back Anti-Gay Legislation


David Cooley, the founder of The Abbey Food & Bar located at 692 North Robertson Blvd., has announced the popular gay bar will add any legislator in any state who votes for “bills to allow for discrimination against LGBT people” to a “Deny Entry List.”

In a statement, Cooley said The Abbey will also display headshots of each state representative who support bills on the security list, including Kansas House Bill 2453, Arizona Senate Bill 1062, Idaho House Bill 426, Ohio House Bill 82 and other similar proposals.

Matt said...

Are you seriously defending this nonsense by saying the lawmakers who passed it won't be allowed in gay bars a state away? You're saying that's the same thing? Guess what, dingus? If one of those freedom-loving legislators got himself to the The Abbey and they denied him entry, they could sue for discrimination. IN California. Cause they have legislation in place to protect people from that there. And that's kinda the point.

I think you just lost this argument.

Michael Snyder said...

This is pure stupidity. I do not believe that you should overtly not provide service because of religious beliefs. There are other ways. If a business has sufficient business they can say so. They do not have to deny service because it goes against their beliefs. Say that they have enough business and cannot take additional orders. Hopefully, it is close to the truth. You can also price your product differently. This is done now. That is why prices in supermarkets and convenience stores in good neighborhoods tend to be less than those in bad neighborhoods. A law to legislate such a practice is not needed.

Jim said...

"...the right side of same sex marriage..."

Reminds one of "...the clean end of a turd..."!