The Arizona legislature passed SB 1062/HB 2153 last week. They call it a law to protect your right to â€œexercise your religionâ€ but what it really does is give businesses the ability not to do business with someone if it violates their â€œreligious beliefs.â€ What it does is give businesses the ability not to do business with members of the LGBT community.
This law is fucked up on a lot of levels. While so many states and cities are legalizing same-sex marriage and updating anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity, Arizona is moving backwards and trying to legalize segregation. It’s frustrating that the majority of the Arizonans oppose this proposed law, including several business organizations, but an influential minority was able to push it through both houses.
Here’s what’s really fucked up about this law – your â€œreligious beliefsâ€ don’t have to be affiliated with any officially recognized religion;â€ they only have to be your sincerely held religious beliefs.
I’m pretty agnostic but I do have some firmly held beliefs that are as dear to me as some religions are to others. One of those beliefs is Wheaton’s Law – â€œDon’t be a dick.â€ This rule was created by actor-author-gamer Wil Wheaton to encourage good sportsmanship during online gaming, and it has spread to and been adopted in everyday life. If you want your own Wheaton’s Law t-shirt, it’s available online.
And yes, just because Wheaton’s Law isn’t affiliated with any official religion or culture that requires some type of worship practice, it doesn’t mean it can be a religious belief. According to Dictionary.com, a religion is merely, â€œa set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.â€ Note that superhuman agency and ritual observances are not required; therefore, Wheaton’s Law can be a religious belief.
So if Governor Brewer signs this bill into law, it will give me, and anyone else who considers Wheaton’s Law to be part of their religion, the ability to refuse to do business with anyone who acts like a dick. This will include any members of Arizona Senate and House of Representatives who voted in favor of this discriminatory law. I wonder how fast they would change their stance on this law if suddenly their grocery store, gas station, salon, landscapers, golf course, gym, neighborhood bar, and the private school where they send their kids refused to do business with them. (Hat tip to Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria for posting a sign that says they refuse to do business with Arizona Legislators after this bill passed.)
Some groups, like One Community, are taking the high road and saying that all are welcome to do business with them and encouraging others to do the same. And good for them – I’m too pissed off to be the bigger man on this one.
Please contact Governor Brewer’s office and tell her to veto this hellaciously discriminatory bill. You can call her at 602-542-4331 or 520-628-6580. You can also sign the petition about SB 1062 on Change.org.
[Note: I sent Wil Wheaton an email about claiming Wheaton’s Law as a religious belief if SB 1062 is signed. He didn’t respond so I interpreted that to mean that he didn’t object – at least not enough to tell me about it. I mean no disrespect to Wil Wheaton or Wheaton’s Law with this post.]