Michael Houck, Staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
With recent state Supreme Court cases overruling many of the bans on same-sex marriage across the country, supporters of same-sex and LGBTQ rights are seeing real change, which is finally moving in the right direction. But opponents of this movement are really ramping up, trying to counteract what is happening in their states.
One case is that Utah Legislators “stuck their heads in the sand” when they were advised by Republican leaders in both the Senate and the House to do nothing with bills about anti-discrimination, focusing on SB100.
Again, we are seeing this in other states but right now, Utah’s southern neighbor, Arizona, is where they’re getting the most heat as anti-gay proponents try to counteract what is going on.
In the midst of equal rights legislation, the media caught wind of a bill in Arizona titled Senate Bill 1062. Supporters of the bill named it the “Religious Freedom” bill and opponents called it the “No Cake for Gays” bill.
Basically what the bill would have done was give the right for any business owner to refuse service to anyone if that individual went against the practice of the owner’s religious beliefs.
The reasoning for the bill’s creation comes from a Supreme Court ruling last August in their neighboring state of New Mexico.
Back in 2006, a same-sex couple wanted to get their pictures taken, but the photographers refused to do so based on religious beliefs.
The court ruled that the company was denying service, not because of religious beliefs, but because they were discriminating against the same-sex couple. The court compared it to an establishment refusing to serve a couple of a different race.
SB1062 was written essentially to protect Arizona businesses from being sued if they denied service to a same-sex couple, granted their religious views are cited as a reason not to serve them.
The problem, though, is the way they are bringing attention to the bill and also the side effects that the bill could cause in the future.
The lawmakers in Arizona argued that the bill’s intent is not to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, but to protect those who don’t want to serve someone that is LGBTQ and could deny a service based on religious beliefs without penalty.
According to Arizona Senator Al Melvin, who voted for the bill, said in a CNN interview that he can’t recall any cases in Arizona that anyone has been sued or went to court because of religious freedom and same-sex marriage. He argues that this bill was a “pre-emptive strike” because this could happen in the future.
Discussion of equal rights is nothing new to America, but many cases from the past, un-related to same-sex marriage, seem trivial today.
Back in the 1980s, with the woman’s rights movement, businesses didn’t want to give married women the same salary because their religion didn’t believe that women are equal compared to men.
Of course this excuse didn’t hold up in courts back then and now people are trying to do this to the LGBT community.
Now, here come the side effects of such a bill.
Potentially, any business could deny someone a service just because of different religious views as long as the business says those magic words.
It spits in the face of the decades-long battle for equality and sends the American consciousness spiraling back to a time of segregation and hate.
What same-sex opponents are trying to do is restrict rights to the LGBTQ community before same-sex marriage even becomes legal. They are making this as difficult as possible for same-sex couples to get the same rights as normal, average Americans, which is unfair.
In the end, this bill was vetoed so we didn’t have to see the disaster it would have caused. Strangely enough, some lawmakers who voted to approve this bill wanted it to be vetoed afterwards, along with some businesses.
In Arizona, those who want a cake can purchase one. The message for businesses is equally simple: just make the cake; it’s your job.