I was thinking all of this before they announced the veto today. by the end of the day with the news and facebook, i am actually kind of sick of the topic. but i was thinking last night and i need to write more. so this is more of an exercise.
I am trying to discuss this proposed law in a civil, objective manner. The initial issue is the deceptive nature of the bill. The bill’s language is intentionally vague. Eschewing any egregious verbiage that signals at which subset of our society this law is aimed, the law feigns an altruistic objective. The wording basically claims to be designed to protect business owners and their religious beliefs.
Despite that my initial reaction is disgust, I would like to start from the assumption that a store owner should have the latitude and liberty to decide with whom they deal as a business owner. If it is your shop, you should be able to do what you want with it. That seems American.
I began agreeing with the opinion that a person should be able to gear their business to who they desire. That approach, however, quickly folds under pressure from other American Constitutional tenets. Admittedly, “slippery slope” is not a legal argument. Precedent is the foundation of our system. But the initial law is judged in a vacuum. However, as Brown vs The Board of Education decided, separate is not equal. The language of the bill allows shop owners with a bigoted agenda to hide behind religion protection.
I believe that that exactly what a store owner agrees to when he or she opens a store. First of all, they own a business, not a club or group. If they start a club or organization or fraternity, I agree that they should be able to include (or more specifically, disallow) whomever they wish without fear of prosecution for discrimination. But a store owner pays taxes to a government. At this moment of financial interaction, an owner has agreed that he is a political entity, living within rules of this government. No one’s religion should be crossed with government.
Christian Identity (William pierce - Turner Diaries - Timothy McVeigh - Resistance Records) believes that Jews are the spawn of Satan and Eve and that non whites are mud people and not human. By this logic, business owners should be able to turn away black, Jews, etc, because it's their belief. This country permits freedom until you infringe upon another unfairly. If a black guy's car breaks down and needs gas on some desolate AZ highway, should that station have the right to refuse him? That owner is infringing on that black guy's ability to participate in this economy.
This is legal discrimination and allows one's religious prejudices to impact one's community. That's wrong. And I say this objectively listening to both sides for awhile over the last two days. And know at least sixteen other states are proposing these laws as well. If you don't want to serve your community, don't start a store.
I love that one of the main reasons – when discussing boycotts as repercussion, the Super Bowl (and the millions…Billion) that it will generate was a reason to veto the bill, suggested by the chamber of commerce. So the fear is that NFL would boycott Arizona and withdraw the Super Bowl, losing Arizona the possibility of Millions (billions?). Someone call Micheal Sam and ask how he feels about this bastion of civil rights.