Readers speak out on Arizona Senate bill allowing gay exclusion

2014-02-21T00:00:00Z Readers speak out on Arizona Senate bill allowing gay exclusion Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2014 12:00 am

Readers speak out on Arizona Senate bill allowing gay exclusion

Stamp of approval

for discrimination

As a judicatory officer in a church that has long fought for the free rights of all citizens, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, I write to express my profound dismay, disgust and outright anger at the Republican leadership in the Arizona Senate.

The Constitution, which our lawmakers took an oath to uphold, made a promise to me and all other U.S. citizens that, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” This law gives Americans a legal right to discriminate based solely on their religious beliefs. It is both state-sanctioned religion and state-sanctioned discrimination.

Given all that we have worked for as a people to put our legacy of race hatred and bigotry behind us, it galls me that intelligent people would so cavalierly take what I see as a huge step backward.

Government should protect its citizens from the inclination of others to do them harm — not write laws that give bigots and homophobes cover for their abuse and ignorance.

John Dorhauer

Conference minister,

Southwest Conference UCC

Legislature concocts

a new recipe for ridicule

My suspicions have been confirmed. The Arizona Legislature is engaged in a high-stakes game of “can you top this?”

SB 1062, proposed by Sen. Steve Yarbrough and passed with all and only Republican senators in favor, would allow every Arizona business owner to refuse to serve any member of the public for any reason or no reason based on the owner’s “sincerely held” religious beliefs.

My prediction is that the bill will fare equally well in the House and be sent to the governor. Depending on the advice she follows or the strength of her own convictions — religious, political or legal — Gov. Brewer will either sign or veto this bizarre bill.

Assuming that she signs it, the courts will have the next and final word on it, doubtless finding it without significant redeeming value and declaring it unconstitutional.

Our Legislature will be — once again — a laughingstock to the nation, proving to the world that it understands neither the nation’s Constitution nor the true meaning of religious freedom.

Frank Bergen

Retired clergy, Tucson

Let the conservatives move to Russia

Passage of the Senate bill legalizing bigotry is blatantly unconstitutional. If enacted into law, it will cost our state millions of dollars in an ultimately futile effort to defend it in the courts.

The “right to discriminate” was settled 50 years ago when the Civil Rights Act affirmed there is no such right. And if conservatives don’t like the way we do things here in the USA — let us pause to savor the irony here — they can move to Russia.

Mark Zepezauer

Teacher, Tucson

A fly or two

in the ointment

I have two questions:

First, if SB 1062 becomes law, how long will it be before a business owner with “sincerely held” religious beliefs (or some hapless clerk who’s required to follow company policy) denies service to an individual who also happens to be a legal concealed-weapon possessor? What could possibly go wrong in that scenario?

Second, have Sen. Steve Yarbrough and his allies never heard of social media? They seem to think businesses with a service-refusal policy will be protected from the consequences of that policy if they don’t have to post signs. I can hear the Internet laughing already.

Michael Rule

Tucson

Senate bill extends protection for bigotry

Exactly what religion condones refusing water, food, shelter, basic human dignity and peace to anyone? I am a heterosexual (not that it’s anyone’s business) Christian and this refusal of business services is unconscionable.

Sen. Steve Yarbrough and the other Republican legislators must identify exactly whose religious bigotry they are protecting. If these businesses find that their religion is so important as to require the state of Arizona to take time and money to “protect” them, then require they post a large sign in front of their business so I can see it and not waste my time.

How exactly will these “religious” business people determine who is gay? Perhaps Arizona should require all LGBT people to wear a large yellow star sewn to their clothes.

Elaine Perillo

Tucson

A sampling of online comments

I support the LGBT community but I also support a business owner’s right to choose his or her clientele. Would any of you give your business to a KKK couple getting married? Think about the opposite. This is their right to refuse service as much as we believe it’s a gay or lesbian couple’s right to get married.

Derek Stangl

God’s word isn’t the Constitution. Also, will you be casting scorn on adulterers and divorcees and those who aren’t virgins when married? Will you allow those with physical infirmities into your holy spots?

Karki Meade

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I live in Arizona, I’m a Christian, I love God. But I’m sorry, my God says: Do not judge each other, love thy neighbor, forgive as you want to be forgiven.

Shelby Wofford

If someone wants to run a business in a way you don’t like, don’t go there. The government needs to get out of all of it. If there is a business that doesn’t want to serve me because of my lifestyle (straight Christian female), I am supportive of its right to do so because I believe in freedom. I also believe in people’s rights to speak out against bigotry. What I don’t support is a government stepping in to control the people.

Anna Artman

Businesses have signs that say they have right to refuse service to anyone and that is for people who are rude, lewd or don’t wear shirts or shoes, but it doesn’t mean if you are gay, a woman, black or whatever they don’t have to serve you.

Marcia Manchenton

The people they discriminate against will simply go down the street and do business with somebody else who is friendly to them. Just let the free market be the answer to this problem.

Jeffrey Stone

The free market is not a free ticket to violate an individual’s civil rights.

Marc Benton

I support this. I support gay rights and I believe people should have the right to do whatever makes them happy as a basic human right but at the same time, small-business owners should also have the right to serve whomever they choose. It doesn’t mean I have to like that some business owners will choose to do this — it’s their right. But it’s also my right to not support their judgmental butts by boycotting their businesses.

Ariel Enriquez

It’s up to the business owners, but what about the employees who may believe different who are forced to enforce it. It’s all around wrong!

Becki Griffith

It protects the rights of those practicing religions from litigious harassment from gays refused service. If one’s business is unwanted, simply spend your money elsewhere.

Regis Collins

No shirt, no shoes no service. Who the hell are all you people to tell a business of any kind who they can and cannot do business with? It should be up to the business as to whom they wish to deal with.

Howard D. Huggins

I’m guessing their menu is as tasteless as their political agenda.

Jack Babbitt

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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