Flipping through the channels at night, Americans are collectively shaking their heads and laughing at the politics in Arizona yet again. Talk show hosts are having a field-day with SB 1062, which is a bill basically legalizing discrimination against gays and others who do not fall in line with business owners' religious beliefs. The bill allows a restaurant owner to refuse service to same-sex couples, or permits a Christian banquet hall owner from renting out his or her establishment for a Jewish bar mitzvah. The bill is being pushed because of an incident in New Mexico involving a photographer who was sued after refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony.
Senate Bill 1062 was voted on last week and passed with a 33-27 vote in Legislature. However, three Senators who voted for approval of the bill, Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsely, are speaking out against their decisions and wishing they could vote the other way now. The Republicans are urging Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill, which must be decided on by March 1st.
With Arizona scheduled to host the Super Bowl next year, this bill couldn't come at a worse time. The state already makes regular headlines because of it's anti-minority laws and policies, as well as the occasional mention of our infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. According to the Rob and Karie Show on KTAR, "last Friday Kristen Jarnagin, senior vice president of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, said her office had already received calls from people canceling their spring training trips here because of this bill, which is still one step away from becoming law."
Additionally, The NFL's Greg Aiello issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
"Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time."
As our economy is steadily on the rise, and as more tolerant states are granting same-sex couples the right to marry, Arizona is taking two steps backwards, and showing its close-mindedness and old school, conservative ways of thinking. If SB 1062 is passed, the state will lose millions of dollars in tourism and take themselves out of the equation for places that entrepreneurs would even consider opening their new businesses. It is a lose-lose situation if passed, so hopefully the Governor makes the right decision.