Chalk up another victory for the gay and lesbian lobby. They managed to stir up so much of a ruckus that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a measure the State Legislature passed to safeguard the religious liberty of its citizens.
Senate Bill 1062 was designed to protect Christian business owners from being forced to provide goods or services when to do so would violate their religious beliefs. Such a measure became necessary, its supporters said, because Christian photographers, bakers and florists had been punished for declining to provide services for gay weddings.
State Senator Steve Yarborough, one of the sponsors of the bill, said: “This bill is not about allowing discrimination. This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”
In cases in Oregon, Washington and New Mexico, business owners were found guilty of violating the civil rights of gays for refusing to provide their services for a gay wedding. In some cases, they were fined thousands of dollars for discriminating against gay customers.
And it isn’t just private businesses that are under the gun of the homosexual lobby. So are many public charities. Catholic Charities came under attack when it said it would not violate the teachings of its faith by placing children in the homes of same-sex couples. When it was ordered to do so, it chose instead to shut down its foster care and adoption services in several States. When the charity closed its doors in Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki said, “In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated.”
Indeed, that is precisely what increasingly is happening all across this county.
Once the State Legislature in Arizona passed SB 1062, the floodgates opened against Governor Jan Brewer, demanding that she veto the bill. John McCain and Jeff Flake, the two Arizona Senators, denounced the measure. So did Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for President. Newt Gingrich, another prominent Republican politician, said the same thing.
Three Republican legislators in Arizona who had voted for the measure said they had changed their minds. In a letter to the Governor, they said that their intent had been “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties.” Instead, they noted, “[T]he bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”
Many businesses, including Apple and American Airlines, joined the chorus urging Brewer to veto the measure. Even the National Football League got involved, threatening to move the 2015 Super Bowl from Phoenix to some other, more gay-friendly State unless she vetoed the bill.
Faced with all of these strident demands, it isn’t surprising that Brewer buckled. Very few politicians could have withstood the pressure she faced.
In announcing her decision, the Governor said, “My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona.” While she believes strongly that “religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value,” she added, “So is non-discrimination.”
Here is how she explained her decision to veto: “To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand the long-held norms about marriage and family that are being challenged as never before.” She recognized that “Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes.”
But then she added, “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.”
Demonstrators outside the State capitol building in Phoenix erupted in cheers when Brewer’s decision was announced.
We have come full circle in this country, with the people demanding “tolerance” becoming absolutely intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. If, because of your religious convictions, you decline to participate in a gay wedding, it’s not enough to insist you violate your conscience. No, these new forces of intolerance say you must be punished.
Welcome to the new tyranny of the minority.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.