Friday, February 28, 2014

An Welcome Solution

(Cartoon by Joel Pett/Lexington Herald-Leader (2/27/14) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge)

Another skirmish in the battle for human rights in this country is over, and this time the good guys won.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer finally vetoed the bill which would give businesses the right to refuse service to gays on the basis of religious beliefs.  Given all of the ink and electrons spilled over the bill nationally, the veto came as no surprise.  What was a surprise was where the pressure to overturn the state legislature came from. 

I think Bill Dwyre got it right:

The issue had a number, SB (Senate Bill) 1062. It also had a label, the anti-gay bill. It was passed by the Arizona Legislature recently but vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday night. As written, it said that for religious reasons a business person may legally withhold services from gays, lesbians and transsexuals.

It was, of course, a hot topic. Prominent people weighed in. It didn't seem to have any political lines, just across-the-board amazement that it was passed by the state Legislature and disgust that it took so long to veto.

Those opposing the bill seemed to merely be battling stupidity.

The biggest wedge seemed to come from the leverage of sports. The Super Bowl is scheduled here next year, and the NFL's stance seemed quite clear.  [Emphasis added]

While it is true that those other businesses which benefit from tourism were also against the bill (it might very well have cost them millions, if not billions), it was the veiled threats from the NFL and MLB (a lot of major league teams hold spring training in Arizona) that provided the capstone.

So, while the reasons for the veto may have been based in greed, the outcome was a victory for human rights.  And that was a welcome reminder that the boycott, even the threat of one, is still a handy tool for political change.

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