February 26, 2014

Brewer Just Says No

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB1062, the 'religious freedom' bill that made its way to her desk earlier this week.  The bill would have codified the right to discriminate against people on the basis of a deeply held religious belief.

In her comments, Brewer mentioned she's not heard of a single case in Arizona of a business owner's religious liberty being violated, making it seem the danger being addressed by the bill was neither clear nor present.  She also chastised the legislature for sending up this bill as the first policy bill of the session, when she made it clear her priorities were different.

She noted further that the bill was
broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences. To the supporters of this legislation I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However - I sincerely believe that SB1062 has the potential to create more problems that it purports to solve. And it could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious freedom is a core American and Arizonan value. So is non-discrimination. Going forward let's turn the ugliness of the debate of SB1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans. 
Hopefully, those who hold the extreme belief that government sanctioned discrimination is the umbrella they want to live under can see the error of their ways, and stop putting this type of legislation up for a vote.

At the same time, I'd like to think that there would be a reasonable consideration on the part of those most likely to have been discriminated against had this passed to stop and think about how they choose to make a stand.

The two examples of violation of religious liberty - a baker and a photographer, in two different states, who didn't want to participate in a gay wedding or a lesbian commitment ceremony - sort of got me thinking, and as usual, I suspect some folks will be mad at me for saying this, but I'm going to say it anyway.

I don't know about you, but I can't imagine wanting to spend a lot of time as I prepare to embark on happily wedded bliss trying to convince someone who has no interest in me to take an interest in me. Frankly, I would much rather spend my money with someone that appreciates me and my business than with someone who doesn't.

If you're Abercrombie and Fitch you don't want me as a customer, because you're right - I'm not one on of the cool 20-somethings you're catering to.  I can see that and I understand that and you'll never find me in that store.

I won't shop at Hobby Lobby either, for a couple of reasons. First, I don't like their merchandise; I also don't believe that employers should be expect that all of their employees subscribe to the same beliefs as the company does, and limit their benefits as a result. Further, they don't have a problem taking my money, without even asking if I subscribe to their beliefs - so they seem a little fickle on that, I think.

Truth be told, I'm currently engaged in one of those 'belief' conversations with my own employer right now, so I'm not afraid to fight the good fight. I'm also not afraid to walk away, and in the case of the baker and photographer, I really think I would have found someone else to help me with the wedding of my dreams.

Kudos to Jan Brewer for making the right decision, and to her point about searching for respect and understanding.  We can learn from both.


  1. Spot on- funny how consumer choice and market forces take care of douchebag store owners. We don't need legislation for this cr*p- Bills like BS1062 are a waste of Time & Money... On the plus side the media had something "controversial" to talk about ad nauseum... and get their ad revenue...

  2. Thanks Jay. Not only did the media get their mileage out of this one, but so did the politicians who seem to think that fueling the conservative Christian masses (emphasis on Christian, not conservative) is the right thing to do. Almost as good as her decision (which I think was inevitable), were Brewer's comments about putting forward a critical legislative agenda -- the financial condition of the state, and their broken child welfare system - and having the politicians respond with something they must have known she wouldn't sign and wouldn't pass muster in the courts. Good for her for calling them out for wasting the people's time and money by not doing the job they need to do.