Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AZ Discrimination Bill Could Cost the State the Super Bowl!

Last week, the Arizona state legislature passed SB 1062, which would allow businesses to deny service to anyone on the grounds of "religious freedom." In effect, it would legalize discrimination against same-sex couples.  The way the bill comes across the business people of Arizona can basically discriminate against anyone on religious grounds not just same-sex couples.
SB1062 redefines and expands the state's definition of "exercise of religion" and "state action" to protect businesses, corporations and people from lawsuits after denying services based on a sincere religious belief. 
According to the bill, "A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or a defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding." 
View the bill on the Arizona State Legislature's website 
The bill also establishes a set of needed guidelines for when this potential defense could be used in court: 
- The person's action or refusal to act is motivated by a religious belief
- The person's religious belief is sincerely held
- The state action substantially burdens the exercise of the person's religious beliefs
My questions is why you would be in business serving the public if want to determine who you serve based on your religious beliefs.  Does that mean if you wear a turban or a veil over your head, you won't be served.  Next are they only going to serve blonde, blue eyed people?  This is how ridiculous it sounds.  Instead of concentrating just on gays, why not tell the American people that it could be more than just gays not served but other religions like Muslims, Jewish, Amish and the list goes on and on. Are they going to not serve someone because their religion frowns on people with a different skin color.  Thought this was settled years ago in the early 60's at lunch counters across the South but looks Arizona once again didn't get the message.

What is wrong with Arizona and more importantly with their Governor to even have to think if she is going to sign or veto?

Was waiting for the NFL to weigh in on the stupid discrimination law in Arizona passed by the hard right GOP legislature and sitting on Governor Brewer's desk for signature.  Was not disappointed in the NFL as they had a few words for the Arizona legislature and Governor Brewer hoping to force her to veto the bill:

On Monday, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee condemned the bill and the effect it would have on the state:
We share the NFL's core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination. In addition, a key part of the mission for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is to promote the economic vitality of Arizona. On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential. We do not support this legislation. Instead, we look forward to continuing to promote the NFL's values while focusing on the economic momentum apparent in Arizona and capturing the positive worldwide attention associated with hosting Super Bowl XLIX.

The Arizona Cardinals, the state's only NFL team, also came out against the bill:
What so many love about football is its ability to bring people together. We do not support anything that has the potential to divide, exclude and discriminate. As a prominent and highly-visible member of this community, we strive to bring positive attention to the state. We are concerned with anything that creates a negative perception of Arizona and those of us who are fortunate to call it home.

It isn't the first time that Arizona's Super Bowl has been put in jeopardy. In 1990, the NFL pulled the 1993 Super Bowl from the state over its refusal to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday, costing the state more than $100 million in economic activity. 
The NFL is so far not taking a stance on SB 1062, telling The Huffington Post on Monday, "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."
You would think that Arizona would have learned after the NFL pulled the 1993 Super Bowl but no the GOP is still the same party of intolerance in Arizona it has been for sometime now.  How Governor Brewer can even consider signing this bill is beyond me.  What is she thinking?  Or is she not thinking which seems to be the likely scenario.

I have no doubt that the NFL will pull the Super Bowl once again from Arizona if she signs the legislation costing the state millions of dollars.  If I was the owner of the Phoenix Cardinals, I would be making plans to leave Arizona permanently.  At the same time, the baseball teams that do Spring Practice in Arizona might want to move to SoCal or the Phoenix Suns NBA team might start looking around.  Does Brewer have any clue how much revenue this bill could cost the state or is she more worried about her re-election?

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