The Widdershins

Archive for February 27th, 2014

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

First, allow me as a Florida resident to thank the state of Arizona for distracting the entire nation from whatever-the-hell- it -is than we have done lately.  I find myself basking in the roseate glow of another state being roasted over the open fire of public opinion.  It’s really quite refreshing.

While AZ richly deserves the ire of the masses for the unfortunate piece of legislation that would permit businesses of all stripes to deny services to the LGBT community, they are hardly alone in this endeavor.   Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Idaho. Tennessee, Oklahoma, Utah, Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon are all in various stages of crafting eerily similar legislation as we speak.  Somehow, Arizona appears to be carrying the load on this particular fiasco.

No one appears to be entirely certain about the source of all of this ill will.  There have been some instances, especially in the wedding industry, of vendors denying services to members of the LGBT community on the basis of religious scruples.   If such legislation stands, it will effectively immunize the vendors from suit.   Even more unclear is the timing – almost all of these bills hit the various legislatures within a brief period of time, kind of like the rolling cavalcade of crap that sprang from ALEC after 2010, but this really does not appear to be an ALEC maneuver.  This appears to be more of a Tony Perkins type of event.  Oddly, no one in the more ostentatious Christian Movement appears to be claiming credit for the bills at this time.

The Republican Regulars are horrified, and well they might be.  Delta, Dell, Southwestern, American Express, the NBA, WNBA, Verizon, Marriott, Intel, Yelp and a host of other businesses are unhappy about this maneuver.  The NFL is reserving judgement, but the scheduled Super Bowl may well be in jeopardy.  All of these things could easily cost the state billions should this bill become law.  Both Senators McCain and Flake are urging Governor Brewer to veto the legislation. Three state legislators now claim that they did not really understand the (two page) bill when they voted for it, and are demanding a Mulligan.    The Guv says that she needs time to really study the (two page) bill prior to making a decision.

Basically, this seems to be the usual Repub legislative maneuver of tossing a bone to the Evangelical community in order to curry favor for the forthcoming election so that they might ensure their ongoing power.  Unfortunately for them, the party appears to have clean forgotten that they are owned and operated by corporate America, and corporate America is as intolerant of financial loss as the Evangelicals are of the LGBT community.  What’s a poor legislator to do???

As far as the Evangelicals of my acquaintance go, they are horrified at the march of progress, and even more horrified at their inability to put a stop to all of this change.  Therefore, their only open avenue is to “protect” themselves by claiming religious freedom, which would thus serve to insulate from “them”, from adverse public opinion, as well as from potential litigation.   We already permit pharmacists to decline to dispense Plan B, and Catholic institutions to opt-out of contraceptive coverage by punting to the insurer.  I understand how the Evangelical community now believes that any and all of their personal boogeymen might be tamed by claiming religious freedom, as it has worked so well in the matter of contraception.   What they fail to comprehend is that their religious liberty ends where another’s liberties begin, and that their right to practice their religion does not include the prerogative to force others to practice it with them.  No statute forces them to provide a service, but there will be no legal cover for bigotry.

This is an open thread.

UPDATE”  Governor vetoes AZ bill just as I finish writing.  (Of course.)  Now, we wait and see what happens next.  I have a feeling that we are not yet out of the woods here, although I would dearly love to be proven wrong.

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