Op-Ed: Closed For Business – Arizona In The 21st Century

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The recent debacle pretending as legislation in Arizona has thrown a wrench into our trip planning. We have planned a trip that includes almost a month in Arizona, the home of a newly passed law allowing legal discrimination of gays. Leaving it to a service provider’s religious beliefs to decide whoever that may be. Though the legislation has not been signed into law by the governor as of this writing, the intent remains.

I have had several conciliatory messages from family and friends in Arizona apologizing for the legislators and bemoaning the capture of Arizona by the ultra right wing conservatives. They despise the situation perhaps more than I who gets to choose not to visit, though they still live there.

Similar legislation passed the House in Kansas and died an unexpected death in the Senate, robbing rabid right wing Governor Sam Brownback of the opportunity to imbed discrimination in Kansas law. Oddly, equally fanatical conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has not leapt at the opportunity to scribble her signature on the piece of Arizona handiwork at the earliest possible moment.

Nationally the conservatives have lost the marriage issue and same sex marriage is sweeping the nation. Taken in context with the failure in Kansas and hesitation in Arizona this new wave of discrimination purportedly based in the freedom to express personal religious beliefs is actually the next wild-eyed effort at hate.

Apparently some cooler head is realistically considering the ramifications of these laughably childish efforts. Someone somewhere, perhaps the Republican National Committee, perhaps vested business interests with real revenue to loose in the form of boycotts, has had enough of this pandering to the ultra conservative right wing bat crap crazy base. They seem to have awakened to the immediate damage these efforts impose in the form of litigation costs on an almost certain trip to the courts and the reality of business losses as gays and new businesses stay away in droves. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, long term political loses to a party already significantly weakened and basically splintered by the over zealous efforts of some to marginalize just about everyone who is not old, white, male and rich.

There is clearly a growing acceptance of gays in the United States and even more an understanding that there is no real reason to exclude them. Hate based on stolen Christian beliefs does not stand up upon examination. The true losers in this conservative charade are real Christians, not Republican pretenders, who have had their faith hijacked and turned black and bitter in a baseless war of hatred against fellow human beings.

The growing acceptance of gays is coming from younger Americans who are also newly enfranchised voters. For the Republicans to push legalized discrimination, institutionalized hate, and allow it to fester and grow is to alert the burgeoning body of new voters to swear allegiance to the Democratic Party for at least a generation. History has shown, however, that party allegiance once sworn can last for a century, as evidenced by the consistent fidelity to the Republican party of African Americans, slaves freed by the first Republican president and subsequently ostracized by those same Republicans.

It is certainly my hope that sound judgment prevails and Governor Brewer refuses to sign the measure on her desk. She has previously sided with businesses on their right to serve whom they please and also vetoed a similar measure last year.

Were it to be signed into law, which is not out of the question, we will as Bugs Bunny did take a right at Albuquerque. We will miss not only family and friends but the Grand Canyon. Moreover, Arizona will loose the benefit of our month of gay spending.

Ric Reily is the author of two books, Money Is The Root Of All - Skip The Debt Habit, and Gregory’s Hero; his firm CFO On Call provides small business finance and operations consulting. Ric is married to John, his partner of 26 years, and lives in South Florida with their Havanese dog, Buckley. You can reach Ric at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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