I let all the hysteria over the Grammy Awards weddings go by without blog comment. The Teavangelicals had their knickers in twist over the sight of, (horror of horrors) married couples on an awards show (dissonant organ chord) . I guess they feel the various offerings of “The Real Housewives of…” franchise don’t do enough to present the proper image of family values on television.
And I bit my tongue reading all the hand wringing over how the Grammys are no longer ‘family-friendly’. I know how the Teavangelicals have been down wit da Hip-Hop since the days of Public Enemy and N.W.A so they have a right to feel betrayed. You go Tea-folk; FIGHT THE POWER!
The Olympics are over. There was much controversy before the Sochi Games because of the threats facing LGBT people in Russia. Some called for a boycott. The laws being passed in Russia are reminiscent of Germany’s 1935 Nuremberg laws which formed the legal framework for the Holocaust. And, with all due respect to Russians and those of Russian heritage who are more enlightened, Russia has a long history of bull-dozing stigmatized groups into mass graves. There have already been public figures quoted widely, and with precious little condemnation, saying LGBT people should be herded into ovens and burned alive. We should not sit silently and wait for a gay Babi Yar. As a gay man I am appalled by events in Russia. I’ll also admit I am frightened by how joyfully their message is being received by the Tea-folks in this country.
All that said, I’m glad there was no boycott of the Sochi Games. Bringing world media attention to bear in the hopes of bringing the Russians to a more civilized position is good but boycotting the Games would have hurt the athletes and the Olympic movement more than the Russians. It is a righteous cause but boycott would have been the wrong strategy. I recall the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games because of the Russian (then “Soviet”) invasion of Afghanistan. That was a mistake. And the irony of the US hosting the Salt Lake City Games 20 years later, the year after the US invaded Afghanistan, should be lost on no one.
Speaking of Nuremberg, it will be an interesting week in Arizona. Wrapping themselves in the shroud of Christian love, our State Legislators passed, and sent to our fine Governor for signature, Senate Bill 1062 which would allow businesses to cite their religious beliefs as a defense in lawsuits brought by people who have been refused service. I didn’t even know businesses could have religious beliefs. I guess that was another part of the “Citizens United” ruling.
State law cannot trump federal law so owners of restaurants, hotels, theaters, etc. cannot cite their religious beliefs as defense in refusing to serve people of other “races, colors, religions or national origins”. Discrimination of that type is prohibited by the (Federal) Civil Rights Act of 1964. As much as the Arizona Tea-folk wish it were otherwise, SB 1062 will not allow them to refuse service to Hispanics. LGBT people, however, are not a protected class so anyone would be free to refuse service on that basis.
Supporters of the law love to cite poor beleaguered Christian, Joe-the-Baker, who is forced to sell cakes to perverts for their sodomite weddings even though the Baby Jesus appeared to him in a burning croissant and commanded there should be no cakes for queers. As much that the Tea-folk like to pretend it is, Joe the Baker is not the issue.
I am concerned that hotels can refuse me a room while still renting by the hour to every fundamentalist minister and Tea Party CEO taking a hooker out for a nooner. A banquet hall is free to refuse to allow a PFLAG dinner while cheerfully taking a deposit from Newt or Rush for the reception when they marry the 7th Miss ‘Til-Death-Do-Us-Part-du-Jour’. I am very concerned that a pharmacy can refuse to sell HIV or other medications because Jesus told them to disapprove of potential buyers. Most of all, I am profoundly offended by the unfairness that anyone can claim their religion tells them not to serve LGBT people but LGBT business owners cannot refuse to serve Teavangelicals because the Civil Rights Act protects them from discrimination…. just not us.
For those Arizonans disappointed because AZ SB 1062 will not allow them to refuse service to Hispanics, there is still hope. Second generation
racist libertarian and Tea Party heartthrob wannabe, Rand Paul, was quoted recently as saying the Civil Rights Act prohibitions of discrimination in access to accommodations are unconstitutional. Apparently emboldened by the SCOTUS’s dismemberment of the Voting Rights Act, he’s touting his belief that every business should be free to choose their customers without government interference. That is the philosophy that underlies AZ SB 1062.
It will be interesting to see which pressure group our Governor Jan is most sensitive to. The Teavangelicals will be unhappy if she fails to sign. The business community is hoping for a veto fearing retaliation and loss of business in the State. Fiscal conservatives oppose the proposed law because of the staggering cost to the State’s taxpayers of defending the State against the undoubted court challenges to yet another of these ‘Nurenberg-lite’ Arizona laws. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a fiscally conservative member of the AZ GOP anymore so it is unlikely their input will matter much to Governor Jan.
In truth, it is hyperbole to compare SB 1062 to the Nuremburg Laws. AZ SB 1062 is not the beginning of the Holocaust. It is, however, the beginning of Apartheid. That worked out well for the South Africans so I can see why some might think we should give it a go in the US of A.