Civil Rights Cost About $480 Million
In case everyone was curious, the only thing more important to bigots is about $480 million. If you need proof of this theory, take a look at Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to veto AZ’s religious freedom bill.
The law would have allowed a business to deny services to anyone who violated their “sincere religious beliefs.” As many pointed out, this law was so broad it wouldn’t have only affected LGBTQ folks – unwed mothers, those who were divorced, and anyone else who could be participating in a violation of someone’s faith could have been denied services by a religious business.
The bill was born in early February when an AZ House panel first approved the bill. Before long, the state’s Senate followed suit, approving the bill on Feb. 19th. The following day, the bill sailed through the state’s House with a 33-27 vote.
“Simply put, the fear-mongering from opponents is unrelated to the language of the bill, and proves that hostility towards people of faith is very real,” said Cathi Herrod ED of Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that had worked to get the bill passed. “It’s a shame we even need a bill like this in America. But growing hostility against freedom in our nation, and the increasing use of government to threaten and punish its own citizens, has made it necessary.”
Once again, this bill was about protecting those who need it most – the Christian majority. A group so solid in their faith that no price tag could sway its course.
After the bill passed both legislative bodies, all it needed was a signature from Gov. Brewer, and she was no stranger to stomping out LGBT rights – she signed a bill that removed domestic partnership benefits for AZ’s state employed same-sex couples. ‘God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor’ she told a group of pastors at the time.
We’ll I’m sure God is grateful for your work, Gov. Brewer, but I guess you wanted to make sure it was okay with your other god first – Money. But we’re not quite there yet.
As the bill made national headlines, local activists started to protest. A sizable group of protestors took to the capital on February 21st, coming from around the state to show their support for their LGBTQ friends and family.
The protests didn’t do much; and the bill still sat on Brewers desk awaiting signature.
Brewer and the state’s elected officials stood silent as the future of this bill was all but guaranteed.
And then the business community came forward. Feb 25th the hammer fell. Hard. The NFL and about 80 other companies began to question the logic behind such legislation.
the Super Bowl host committee released a statement saying “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.”
A letter surfaced from AT&T, Mass Mutual, Petsmart, and a mess of other corporate entities all signaled their distaste of the law.
“We too are also focused on building a vibrant business community, which is why we are so concerned,” said the companies in the letter. “This legislation will greatly impact our ability to not only attract top talent to move to Arizona, but will also greatly inhibit our ability to recruit businesses to relocate here. We worry about our ability to succeed in competing with other markets.”
Well there’s a long list of political donors that would have put future election campaigns in a tight spot. And let’s not forget that $480 million, the estimated economic impact of a Super Bowl which AZ could have lost had the bill passed, and evidently the price tag for civil rights.
So, the next time you live in a state where discrimination is being masked as religious freedoms – we’re looking at you Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and others – you’d better hope there’s a professional sporting event on the local calendar, or a vested interest by a collection of powerful corporate groups, otherwise, we’ll see you in line at the “gay’s only bathroom.”
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
“Discrimination and intolerance have no place in the 21st century.”March 28, 2016
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