SB 1062 Uproar: Can Arizona Democrats Capitalize on It in November?
LGBT folks in Arizona, for the most part, do not enjoy this "protected" status. Though certain cities, such as Phoenix, have passed anti-discrimination ordinances that cover LGBTers, SB 1062 would likely undermine them.
Backers of 1062, such as Cathi Herrod of the Taliban-like Center for Arizona Policy, know this and are hiding under the ruse of "religious freedom."
Which explains why Herrod, when interviewed by a daytime CNN show, would not answer a simple question: Under 1062, could a restaurant turn away a gay couple based on a "sincerely held" religious belief?
Her foil on the segment, Robert Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, spoke for her: "Her answer is, 'Yes,'" Boston said after Herrod dodged the bullet more than once.
"She's afraid to say it. They would be able to discriminate. [That's] fundamentally anti-American, fundamentally wrong."
The media and the American public agree with Boston. Arizona has a voter-approved gay-marriage ban in its constitution, but acceptance of gay marriage elsewhere continues to grow.
Gays now serve openly in the U.S. military, allowing for the possibility, if SB 1062 ever became law, that a veteran LGBTer who lost a limb in Iraq could be denied service by a local bigot who owns a restaurant.
(Note: Legal scholars say this is already the case under Arizona law, save in cities like Phoenix, and that 1062 would act more as an invitation for additional discrimination.)
As this column goes to press, the bill, passed by the state House and Senate last week, sits on Governor Jan Brewer's desk, and after the red-hot blast of nonstop outrage by the American public, it's widely assumed she will veto it.
Unlike with Sand Land's anti-brown immigration legislation of four years ago, Senate Bill 1070, post-passage opposition has been swift, broad-based, and sustained.
The Democrats, who fought 1062 like the IRA fought the British, never wavered. And their candidates for statewide office are stalwart in their hostility toward 1062.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal was the first to call for a veto.