Arizona: Serving up a New Era of Jim Crow – Arizona Discrimination Law – I’ve lived most of my life in fear, however, I made the choice to remain silent, for the most part. I was on a weekend news fast that came to a halt early this morning when I received several messages via social media. The content of the messages brought to my attention a recent anti-gay bill passed in the state of Arizona. Although Governor Jan Brewer has the option to veto this bill, the fact that such a declaration of hate has gone this far scares me.
The bill would give business owners who feel homosexuality conflicts with their religious beliefs the right to deny service to members of the gay community. Really? Wow. I thought we put an end to discrimination with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Whoops, my mistake because that did not include sexual orientation. The truth is, protestors who challenge equal rights for the gay community are voicing the last acceptable form of discrimination. It has to stop.
When was the last time you saw a group of gays holding signs that read: Gays Hate God. I think it’s a safe bet to say, never. On the other hand, those who protest our equal rights under the guise of religious beliefs have no qualms about holding up signs such as: God Hates Fags or Thank God For Aids. Is that what God teaches? Hate, intolerance and fear mongering? I don’t think so. I know many Christians who are devout, loving, accepting, kind and have yet to spontaneously combust for being my friends.
In January, I decided to change the name of my website because I no longer wanted to hide behind a mask of humor. My nature will always be to find the joke, when applicable, but I also said I was going to speak my truth. The truth is, I am a gay American who is both frightened and angered by the events unfolding in Arizona. Many have spoken in support of the gay community and the potentially heinous acts that could result from the absence of a veto from Gov. Brewer.
I have spent a lifetime being afraid but it is time for that to stop because bills such as this are designed to strip people of their dignity. In my opinion, remaining silent means I am not challenging the position of ignorant bigots who feel it is their right to classify me as less than human. This is not okay.
It is not my style to talk politics or religion because these discussions never end well and honestly, I’m not a fan of the fallout. However, this is neither a political nor religious issue but instead, a human issue. The bottom line is that a group of extremists with a clear and open agenda against the gay community are using religion as an excuse to perpetuate discrimination. I suppose should any of us find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to travel through Arizona, we can pick up our pink triangle patch at the border? We will have to be clearly identified, right? Sound familiar?
I like to think my readers are evolved, tolerant and open-minded and I hope you can understand the importance of my need to share. The thought of living in a country where I could be refused the right to order a hamburger because of sexual orientation blows my mind. I’ve been exposed to hate and intolerance for most of my life but over the last few years, it seems the tides have changed. I am grateful for those who passionately speak out on behalf of the gay community. The majority of these voices come from heterosexuals who are evolved enough to understand the importance of equality and dignity.
We can only hope that Gov. Brewer does the right and human thing by vetoing the bill when it lands on her desk, later this week. As for me, my life will continue regardless of the outcome but I am no longer afraid. I choose to stand up and be heard because I am human, which means I deserve equal rights nothing more, nothing less. – Stephanie Neighbour
Indie It Press supports GLBTQ communities and their families everywhere. We agree with the author, Stephanie Neighbor. Thank you so much Stephanie for not staying silent.