I am constantly amazed at the lengths bigots will go to protect their desire to spew hatred.
Last week, in my home state of Kansas, the State House of Representatives passed a bill that would have made it legal for any person, business, or government official to refuse service to anyone on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs.” In other words, if you think God hates gays, you could refuse them service. Welcome back, Jim Crow.
Fortunately, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and a host of businesses decried the bill, saying it would have a negative impact on their ability to make money in the Sunflower State, so it was killed in the Senate. It’s amazing what power the sound of a ringing cash register has.
Sadly, this type of bigotry was not confined to Kansas, and, worse, not every state has the good sense to kill a hateful, unconstitutional bill before it becomes law. At the end of the week, Arizona passed a similar measure and sent it to Governor Jan Brewer’s desk. She has not yet decided whether she will sign it or not, but this is the same governor who did sign Arizona’s controversial racial-profiling measure into law.
Yesterday, on his blog, George Takei wrote a blistering response to the Arizona legislature’s action, in which he threatened not to go to Arizona or spend money there if the bill actually became law. You can read it here.
I am in complete agreement with Mr. Takei and will back his boycott. But I have no reason to go to Arizona any time soon, and I am unlikely to spend enough money there for them to care if I did.
However, several of my friends threatened to do something similar to Kansas (even though our bill didn’t even get out of committee in the Senate), and it bothered me, since I knew not all Kansans wanted to perpetrate the kind of discrimination the bill would have allowed.
So, in addition to refusing to spend money in or visit Arizona, here’s what I’ll do. I already donate 20% percent of the sales of my novel, The Sword and the Sorcerer, to Freedom to Marry. If you live in Arizona and you buy any of my books, contact me at john at johnphythyon dot com, show me a receipt for the sale, and I’ll donate 100% of it to Freedom to Marry. I’ll do so until Governor Brewer either vetoes the bill or it is struck down.
Discrimination is wrong. I will do whatever I can to fight it. I recognize there are those with “sincerely held religious beliefs” that homosexuality is immoral. I respect your right to believe that. I’ll even respect your right to shout it to the mountaintops.
But you don’t get to deny services to any American. It’s unconstitutional, it’s illegal (no matter what laws you pass), and it’s immoral.
It’s time for this sort of discrimination to stop.