Saturday, February 22, 2014

God is Not an A$$hole ... so why are our state legislators?

Dear Governor Brewer,
I urge you to veto SB 1062.
More importantly, I urge you to consider putting into place legislation that prohibits discrimination against people based on sexual orientation (similar to laws we currently have in place relating to discrimination based on race or gender).
First, you and the members of the state legislature are representatives for the state's residents. Although the representatives who voted to pass SB 1062 are supported by their ultra-conservative cronies, I highly doubt the majority of Arizona's residents support this bill becoming law. If you sign it into law, you will undoubtedly be creating a law that does NOT align with the values and ethics of the majority of Arizona's residents.
Second, signing this bill into law creates a slippery slope when it comes to allowing discrimination. A restauranteur doesn't want to serve a Jewish family because he is Christian? After all, Jews don't believe Christ was the Messiah - which completely contradicts Christian beliefs. No problem. A Jewish hair dresser refuses to cut a Christian man's hair because he is Christian? That's okay. No problem. And while we're at it, you know those guys who flew planes into the World Trade Center as part of their holy war - as part of their religion? No biggie. They had strongly-held religious beliefs that Americans should die. This is an extreme example, but where does it stop? Let's say a lesbian comes into an emergency room in labor. Can a religious emergency room doctor refuse to save the life of her and her unborn baby because she's gay?
Third, I fail to understand why doing business with a gay person stops another businessperson from observing his or her religion. A Christian (because let's face it, this bill is largely Christian-based) can still practice and observe his religion even while flipping pancakes for a gay man. He can pray the entire time! And while we are on the topic of Christians, why is it that Christians are the most elitist, discriminatory religious people of the bunch? Why do they believe they have the right to dictate how other people live ... and, if they can't dictate it, to at the very least pass judgment by refusing to serve said people?
Fourth, the Alliance Defending Freedom is one of the groups that has been working on SB 1062. Whose "Freedom" are they defending? Certainly not the freedom of other people to live in their own way. They are defending their own freedom to be assholes.
Fifth, I have read the argument that our Founding Fathers would have wanted us to follow this law. I believe, on the contrary, that our Founding Fathers wanted to establish a place in America where EVERYONE could live as they wanted to. Where people were FREE to choose their religion, to live their lifestyle (as long as it didn't hurt others) and to pursue the American Dream - no matter their race, religion or gender ... or sexual orientation. It's unlikely that our Founding Fathers could have predicted the way our world would look today but I can guarantee they would not have wanted us, in 2014, to be going backwards. The government pushing one religion onto other people is exactly what they wanted to avoid - it's one of the main reasons they left England in the first place.
Sixth, if a wedding photographer doesn't want to take photos of a gay couple, fine. I'm sure wedding photographers choose not to sign contracts with various bridezillas and assholes all the time. Graphic designers and marketing gurus fire clients all the time. Interior designers choose not to take on projects they know they're not going to like. I'm a writer and when I submit my novel ideas to literary agents, they have the right to say, "I'm not the right agent for your project" (I hear this a lot). I'm not going to sue them over it. The laws we have in place already protect vendors in situations like this. We don't need even more laws.
Seventh, what happens when two women or two men walk into a restaurant and someone assumes they're gay and refuses to serve them even though they're not? Talk about lawsuits THEN. And worse, what if they ARE gay? Imagine the humiliation of being asked to leave, in front of a roomful of people. If you're a business owner and you open your doors to the public - whether you're a restauranteur, a tax professional or a guy selling oranges on the roadside, you're gonna get a hodgepodge. You may not know it, but you're gonna get drug dealers, killers, swingers, and assholes. How are you going to pick THEM out of a crowd, because I know your religion doesn't support drug use and swinging. You know, it's against MY religion to deal with assholes.
Eighth, I'm pretty sure God is not an asshole. He's looking down at our state legislators right now, shaking his head. He's thinking, "You guys have so many other important things to worry about in Arizona, why pick on the gays?"
Ninth, We have so many other important things to worry about in Arizona. Yes, religious freedom is important - but not discrimination disguised as religious freedom. Not something called religious freedom that makes it okay for people to refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation.
The fact is, Christian people can practice and observe their religion JUST FINE and STILL work with gay people and lesbians. I fail to see how working with, selling to, or sitting on the train next to gay people changes that fact. Gay people aren't hurting anyone else (unless they're assholes too, but that comes down to the individual, I guess). Sure, the majority of Arizonans probably practice some form of Christianity, but the majority of them probably ALSO believe it's unfair to discriminate against gay people and lesbians.
It's time to move forward in Arizona. It's time to accept that yes, some people are gay. Some people are Jewish. Some people are Muslim. Some people are businesspeople and others are stay at home moms. Some people make millions and others are on welfare. Some people - like the people who created this bill - are assholes. But we all live here, together, and I'm pretty sure your God wants us to coexist in peace.
We have so much going for us in Arizona - and so much of what's good is based on our diversity.
Governor Brewer, SB 1062 is not good for Arizona. It's not good for Arizona's people.
Again, I urge you to veto it as soon as it lands on your desk.
Hilary Dartt

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