Arizona Bill Promotes Discrimination for All

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Arizona bill would have allowed further discrimination./ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Arizona bill would have allowed further discrimination./ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, a bill commonly known as “that Arizona anti-gay bill,” last week against the desires of conservative Christian activists, her main supporters. The bill would have allowed businesses to deny services to the LGBT community based on religious beliefs.

Amid all the hype, have people bothered to look at the actual bill to see what makes it anti-gay? Compared to most legislation, which spends hundreds of pages explaining itself, SB 1062 was a whopping two pages with not one mention of the LGBT community. The bill uses the term “person,” defining it as “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity.”

Whether heterosexual or homosexual, black or white, Christian or atheist, the vague wording of this bill implies that anyone can be legally denied a service using the scapegoat of religious beliefs.

This also means the bill would’ve made it okay for conservative Christians, the main proponents of the bill, to discriminate against other Christians, i.e. Catholics against Protestants, Baptists against Latter Day Saints. This wasn’t the original goal of the bill, but it’s the kind of turmoil that could happen if it did.

Besides, religion should not be used as an excuse to discriminate. Religious texts, however they phrase it, emphasize tolerance and loving others. No matter what your beliefs are, in the end we are all human beings struggling and striving for the same basic goals, and as human beings we know some things — no matter our skin color, sexuality, or beliefs — are fundamentally wrong.

They say history repeats itself. Looking back, Americans used religion to support slavery and segregation. As a nation we grew out of that, and maybe we can grow out of this too. Religion is supposed to not only be a belief base, but a source to teach moralistic values, so why should such a thing be used to back such an ugly entity that is discrimination?

One of the founding ideals that America and democracy are built upon is the freedom to worship. But this freedom works both ways, and worship shouldn’t infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others. One of the most beautiful parts of this nation is the ability to think and do what you want; but there is a limit to this. You can do what you want, until it negatively affects others. The proponents of SB 1062 did not take careful enough consideration of their prose and their intentions, which led to the demise of this discriminatory bill.

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