Once known for it’s natural beauty, the Grand Canyon and the popularization of the New Age movement in Sedona, Arizona has recently taken Alaska’s place as the epicenter of right-wing audacity. Governor Jan Brewer has taken two very bold steps toward advancing her anti-equality agenda.
The foremost of Brewer’s fouls, an immigration reform bill that she signed into law seems to have been literally written by White Nationalists according to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Brewer’s second move was to revoke all the domestic partner benefits for state employees that the previous administrations had fought for years to bring to fruition.
With a simple stroke of her Governor’s pen, Brewer took away vital healthcare, estate planning and security from 800 of her employees without warning or discussion. This action has already been shown less popular than a 2009 amendment to redefine marriage as only being available to heterosexuals.
Ironically, Most of the employees affected by the loss of domestic partnership benefits happen to be heterosexuals with children. From there, Brewer delivered a brief explanation of her actions to a group of fellow Evangelicals by claiming that God himself had bestowed that power upon her.
Brewer is not the only Republican politician in the state who has been making questionable decisions. These recent moves come on the heels of Senator John McCain’s strange voting record since having been denied the Presidency by a strong majority of US citizens.
Seemingly holding a grudge and abandoning moderation, McCain has reversed his stance on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and has been fighting hard to keep the law in place despite admonishment from most of his colleagues. A group advocating the repeal of DADT, called GetEqual, which has been gaining a lot of traction for their civil disobedience in front of the White House, has been staging regular sit-ins in front of McCain’s office throughout the debate. Six GetEqual protesters were arrested on Wednesday the 28th.
Most notably, McCain is one of the 30 Republican Senators who voted against an Amendment to keep government contractors from covering up rape and physical abuse by their employees. When the other 68 Senators approved the bill, it caused the nation to wonder: What kind of American Senator could get away with literally voting for rape? John McCain is evidently just that sort of guy.
What does this extremism mean for Arizona?
What kind of state have they become?
Associates at the Arizona Board of Tourism and the Arizona Tourism Alliance did not mince words with me via a telephone interview. One associate confirmed “oh yeah, there are already problems, let me transfer you but just to warn you, some associates will be out of the office for the week dealing with all of this.”
Another asked, “Is this about the LGBT boycott or the one about Immigration?”
According to an official statement released by the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association, “Arizona tourism is currently in a very fragile state of recovery and the negative perceptions surrounding this legislation are tarnishing Arizona’s image and could easily have a devastating effect on that progress.”
The official statement goes on to explain, “Over the last 24 months, Arizona tourism has suffered the effects of the recession, “AIG Effect”, the Swine Flu, boycotts due to gun laws and now this. It’s unclear how much more our industry can absorb while still providing our residents the tax revenue, job creation and quality of life that tourism provides.”
There are at least three Facebook groups at this time, which are dedicated to boycotting products & services from the state of Arizona; each group has tens of thousands of members. The comments left by members in the groups are almost entirely negative toward Republican leadership in the state.
The nature of the immigration reform and the revocation of domestic partner benefits seem to be the biggest points of contention amongst the boycotters. Strikes and picket lines among other forms of protest have been suggested for state employees.