arizona’s newest slogan: you thought we were crazy before? just you wait.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has a decision to make. Will she side with state Republicans who voted en masse in support of S.B. 1062, or will she side with the mounting pressure to veto the lightning rod legislation. In a state known for some seriously crazy stuff, Arizona is doing its best to out-crazy itself.

The bill in question, condescendingly called the “exercise of religion” bill, would ostensibly give business proprietors the right to refuse service to anyone, anytime on the grounds that it goes against their religion. I think you know where this is heading. In addition to green lighting bigotry in nearly any form, this bill—if signed into law—would supersede city ordinances in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson that provide protections to the LGBT community.

In other words, it’s open season on gays in Arizona. Why? Good question. I mean, has it been tough for people of faith, any faith, in Arizona to practice their respective religions?

The swift and massive backlash to SB 1062 has forced several Arizona Republicans into a speedy backward shuffle, trying to save face. Even one of the bills co-sponsors, Bob Worsley has the audacity to call the bill “a solution in search of a problem” and is urging Brewer to veto the bill. Perhaps I’m dumb, but didn’t this guy co-sponsor the bill? And now he’s saying to the Arizona Republic it never should’ve passed? Not buying your convenient flip-flop, Bob. Not at all.

While the measure was pass along party lines, not all Republicans favor the bill. Three Arizona House members joined Democrats in voting against it, while it passed the state senate 17-13, along party lines. Both of Arizona’s Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have spoken out against the bill. Even Mitt Romney has gone on record against the bill (even though no one asked him). And numerous major U.S. businesses and corporations have gone on public record condemning the measure.

Given the groundswell of backlash from her own party, I don’t see how Brewer doesn’t veto SB 1062. But the reality is this measure doesn’t have to actually be signed into law to be successful. It already accomplished its real goal: placating those social conservatives in Arizona whom Republicans want to keep donating to their campaigns and keep voting for them in elections. They can say they fought the good fight but had to back off because of pressure from whatever bogeyman they want to blame today (liberal media, activist judges, etc.).

Those narrow-minded constituents who mistake “religious freedom” for naked bigotry will continue to believe their rights are somehow being violated because a gay couple has the audacity to want to buy a loaf of bread from their bakery or whatever. It’s sad, but this is the way it goes for now. And politicians aren’t likely to stop placating this group anytime soon.

After all, there’s no money in a solution. The profit is in perpetuating the conflict.


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