Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Views & Voices

SB 1062: ‘One of the saddest days I have ever had as an Arizonan’

Monday, February 24, 2014
Ross D. Franklin, APMargaret Jean Plews works on a chalk drawing as she joined nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin, AP
Margaret Jean Plews works on a chalk drawing as she joined nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix.

On Feb. 20, the Arizona State Legislature passed the discriminatory Senate Bill 1062, which was identical to House Bill 2153 when it was considered in the Arizona House of Representatives.

This bill promotes extremism and would create opportunities for discrimination against classes of people who are not protected by federal laws. It was designed to target the LGBTQ community and to undermine the local governments in Arizona that are passing civil rights laws to protect the LGBTQ community.

As I write this column, it is unclear whether Gov. Jan Brewer will sign or veto SB 1062. I can only hope that someday, we will be able to look back at this as a footnote in the fight for equality in our state.

Though the federal government has given protected status to other groups, such as minorities, that have historically suffered discrimination, the LGBTQ community has not yet been given that protection. Some states have been pushing forward by passing state anti-discrimination laws and marriage equality laws. At the state government level, Arizona is lagging behind other reformers. However, several cities in Arizona have been aggressive about affording the LGBTQ community rights under city ordinances, especially in the area of employment discrimination.

SB 1062 is an attempt to stymie that progress under the pretext of religious freedom. It is also completely unnecessary legislation. Arizona has an existing law that organizations can use as a defense when it is possible that a state or local government requirement infringes on its religious beliefs. SB 1062 expands that to individuals, businesses and other entities.

This change creates a justification for discrimination. It effectively gives any person or business a way to justify ignoring the LGBTQ civil rights laws recently enacted by cities including Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff.

SB 1062 opens the doors to attacks on people who don’t have protected status at the federal level but do have protected status in some Arizona cities. It is definitely a step back on the historical timeline of civil rights.

I have urged Gov. Brewer to veto this bill. She has said that economic development is important to our state, and she has touted the “great Arizona comeback,” announcing earlier this year that we are open for business.

This law says we’re only open for business if you are a certain kind of person. If you are not that certain kind of person, SB 1062 sends a clear message. It says, “We don’t want you here. We don’t want your business. We don’t like your kind, and we aren’t going to protect you.”

Any student of history should recognize that sentiment. It troubles me greatly to know my colleagues are perpetuating and enabling those beliefs with the passage of this bill.

SB 1062 is born of the same lack of understanding and intolerance that led to the laws that allowed slavery and that prevented women from voting.

The extremists at the Arizona Legislature are sending a bad message to the rest of the nation with this bill. Other states considered passing similar legislation but they rejected it because they had the wisdom to realize that it hurts people.

The day this bill passed the Legislature was probably one of the saddest days I have ever had as an Arizonan. I have been a state lawmaker for eight years, and I have never seen anything like this. SB 1062 is state-sanctioned discrimination, and there is no doubt in my mind that this bill will result in discrimination specifically against the LGBTQ community.

This is not what most people in Arizona want. We are a state that encourages independence, individuality, and entrepreneurism. This bill flies in the face of those Arizona values. If the governor signs this bill into law, she will severely undermine our principles as a state and a country.

Equality means equality for everyone, not just certain people. Arizonans embrace this idea, and I hope the governor will too.

Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , ,

Filed under: Views & Voices

18 more reader comments:

  1. Boycotting is not enough. We need to show the Legislature that actions have consequences. Arizona is unfit to host the 2015 Super Bowl. Demand the NFL find a new place.

    Sign and SHARE please!

    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/move-the-super-bowl-out

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:44pm
  2. signed and shared!

    Replied on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:53pm
  3. Thanks Sophie!

    Replied on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:54pm
  4. How fast will the federal government kill this bill? Also, when will this crap be tolerated by the Feds ANYWHERE in our so-called evolved country? I challenge the President to get off his ass and grab this issue by the balls just like President Lincoln did for the slavery issue.

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:45pm
  5. Yes please!

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:48pm
  6. Jase Andrew
    I wounder if we could bring that new anti-gay law that they have in uganda. Where you can goto jail for being gay. I like it
    Like · · a few seconds ago

    Homer N. Maxwell…. Every family has had, has or will have gay members. Would you want them persecuted for being gay?
    a few seconds ago · Like

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:50pm
  7. Some families would not hesitate to say YES to persecution of gays.

    Replied on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:53pm
  8. What idiot polititian has nothing better to do then come up with all these stupid idiot bills? Don’t they have a government to run? Why are they wasting everyone’s time & $$$$???? Crazy State of all!

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:50pm
  9. Should never “hate” anything. It is a horrible emotion that should not even exist. If you dislike something than put effort forth in a positive way to eradicate it. Hating it only makes you and those around you ill and nothing to the person or ideal you are expending that precious energy on. Show the bigots, by being positive and not stooping to their level.

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:51pm
  10. I hope the governor will sign the veto. If not, then her state will be messed. Jobs lost, business lost and the cost of anything including foods will raise!!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:53pm
  11. Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:54pm
  12. discrimination at it’s ugliest…….it is not a religious right….how hateful and cowardly

    Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:55pm
  13. 3 Arizona Sentors are not asking the Governer to veto, and they veto in favor and now want to take back their vote…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:01am
  14. I can not believe that in 2014 we are about to take this huge step backward! And it sickens me that there are people who think this evil piece of hate legislation is going to save “Their” country!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:03am
  15. Has Arizona suddenly become Uganda? What’s next public stoning, lynching, concentration camps? Can’t these people(?) see how reprehensible this is. Terribly sad and so unamerican.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:24am
  16. Some people never learn from history, of the atrocities man and religion has done, and evidently still doing. You’d think we would learn. “When will they ever learn”

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:33am
  17. <3 :-( (y)

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:37am
  18. Then do something about it, recall Brewer!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:41am