By Lori Heine
Arizona, the Grand Canyon State of Crazy, is famous for its boiling temperatures. It is also notorious for its political lunacy. Not surprisingly, it is here that the cauldron of nationwide hysteria over the same-sex marriage “menace” is threatening to blow its top. While measures to protect the “religious freedom” of anti-gay Christians are failing elsewhere, here the steaming stew is almost ready to be force-fed to all Arizonans – whether they want it or not.
“Arizona is the first state to pass a bill on religious freedoms specifically addressing LGBT rights,” notes Jaime Fuller in The Washington Post, adding that similar bills in other states “have fizzled out in the last few weeks.”
If Governor Jan Brewer signs SB 1062 into law, Arizona merchants who fear that baking wedding cakes or taking romantic photos for same-sex couples might land them in an even hotter place will not have to serve them. Not that they do now, but evidently they don’t want to remind us of that. And, on the basis of half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies, the bill has indeed made it to the governor’s desk. Only her pen has the power, at this point, to make this effort fizzle.
Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts has lent her voice to the growing chorus of those saying that the bill deserves a veto. “Forget the fact that there really is no problem here, no need for this bill because contrary to the hysterics currently underway at the Capitol, florists aren’t being forced, upon pain of a lawsuit, to provide peonies for the table centerpieces. Forget the fact that it’s an election year and choice bills like SB 1062 play oh so beautifully to the base.”
Thoughtful conservatives, as opposed to those too busy hyperventilating to think, might wonder whatever happened to the suggestion (one that came from their own party) that legal measures be enacted to curb frivolous lawsuits. Might that not only nip in the bud any threat of litigation against people who don’t want to lend their services to “support” gay marriage? But as that would benefit everybody except grandstanding politicians and those trying to get rich from silly lawsuits, and would not specifically target any particular group except those who abuse our civil court system, social conservatives are not interested. That would hurt nobody. And since they are evidently interested in hurting LGBT Arizonans, it simply won’t do.
They’d rather posture and pontificate about saving Christians from the gays. Not all Christians feel the need to be saved from gays, and some of them are gay themselves. But this crusade plays oh so beautifully to the base.