SUMMARY: In Arizona, controversy arises as all eyes are on Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona who must decide whether to pass or veto a piece of legislation that would allow business owners to cite religious beliefs as a legal justification for denying service to same-sex couples. Instances of this occurring in real life all over the US include a photographer in New Mexico declining to take pictures of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony as well as a florist refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding!
MY OPINION: Many conservatives argue that this piece of legislature is a necessary addition because people deserve to express and incorporate their faith into their work lives, and that this law would simply “tweak” an existing religious freedom law in Arizona by clarifying and cushioning the idea that private business owners can refuse service to just about anybody with the excuse of “religious freedom; Yet I believe that the passing of this legislation would not make a simple “tweak” in the law but an entire gorge in the country and not for the better. There are two things I would like to address concerning this situation:
- I believe that the passing of this legislation would allow private business owners to turn corrupt and discriminative; While many states where gay marriage is legal have exceptions to this for religious organizations, I think there is a huge difference between asking a Church to photograph a gay-couples’ wedding and an independent, private business owning photographer. When an organization or business’ principal purpose is the study or advancement of religion (basically I am referring to any religious organization) I believe that they do have the right to refuse service based simply on the fact that their business revolves and circulates around faith and how could you expect them to bend the rules? But by handing this privilege over to any Joe Shmo with a baking business, you are allowing a society to be discriminative against people simply because of their sexual orientation, and this is morally unjust and wrong. Allowing something like this to be integrated in to our culture would be like taking a step backwards down the ladder of progression in America; this is like time travelling to the 50’s and witnessing a black man being refused service by a diner because of his skin color; this is like going back to the late 1800’s and watching a corrupt train driver charge a farmer a ridiculous amount of money to send their goods by freight simply because of their social class; this is like going back a couple of years and trying to apply to fight in the army as a woman and being refused due to your gender!
- Allowing Arizona to pass this type of legislation would probably instigate a formation of similar bills in states like Kansas and New Mexico, the ones in which instances like these with private businesses have been occurring. While this might seem like a positive thing for the conservatives and faith-filled folks, it could also turn a completely different route. Jr. President and chief executive of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gonzalo A. de la Melena states that making this bill a law would, “ultimately have the effect of casting Arizona in a negative light that stands to damage our reputation nationwide and globally, and significantly harm our fiscal future”. I completely agree with this statement and also believe that looking at the issue with a closer lends, these private businesses will only be harming themselves by refusing business to gay couples. I feel as if refusing service from ordinary people such as these gay couples is the equivalent of flushing profit down the toilet; they are stunting the growth and economy of their businesses by shrinking the amount of money circulating in their systems which can expand to shrink the circulation of money throughout bigger systems and when looking through a larger lense, one can see that it could negatively affect and damage Arizona’s entire economy! The law could quickly turn into a loophole for business owners to simply refuse service to people for unjust and tyrannical reasons that formed through hate and ignorance. This law seems to me like a permit for anti-gay bullies to continue their exclusive ways yet this time with legal justification to back them up.
If you would like to read more on the story….
^^^ Sign on a Tuscan Pizzeria posted by the owner, Rocco DiGrazia in response to the controversy with the Arizona Legislators!