So we just got over the Jim Crow anti-LGBTQIA bill that the Gov. vetoed the other day. Well, they’re at it again. House Bill 2481 would allow ministers the right to refuse to perform same sex weddings.
Never mind that they already have that power. [ht Ashby at BobCesca.com] A minister is by definition bound by his particular faith and is NEVER required to marry anyone. They’ve always had this choice. However, this new bill defines minister very broadly. So broadly that it would allow government officials like judges, county clerks, etc the right to refuse to marry same sex couples. Essentially allowing government officials to discriminate.
Again, this bill is so unconstitutional it’s laughable and it would continue to be laughable if it didn’t have a good chance of passing. See the religious right here in AZ (really around the country) are engaging in a broader strategy that you might not notice unless you were paying attention to the kind of bills that are being promoted and passed in all of the different state legislatures. For example, everyone knows that conservatives are unhappy with Roe v. Wade and have tried and tried to get it overturned through the Federal Court system to no avail. So they’ve inundated state legislatures with bills that aren’t specifically about abortion or are about various aspects of abortion
but affect abortion anyway. The Wisconsin “we have the right to shove a wand up your hoohoo” bill was one of those. Other examples include attempts to have the fetus given legal “personhood” status, laws prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, and modifying regulatory laws that affect clinics so they can’t provide services or cutting of their funding entirely. On this last effort in Texas, I think there are only two clinics left to service the entire state that meets the new regulatory restrictions. To make matter worse, Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. I hope taxpayers there are as interested in paying to raise all those children as they were in forcing the mother to give birth.
This is just a few examples of their attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade “de facto” because they couldn’t do so “de jure“. The same thing is happening with same sex marriage laws. Hence the recent attempts in Arizona (and elsewhere). And you will see the pattern on every single issue that the right has lost on over the last few decades. In one sense it’s very frustrating to fight against this kind of attack because you’re constantly putting out a fire in different states and having to shift focus. This is intentional on their part, of course, to make us fight in all fifty states and use up our more limited resources (they have the Koch brothers and other billionaires bankrolling their efforts–the laws were drafted by ALEC which is funded by these conservative billionaires). And it distracts us from focusing on doing things that could really help people on a day to day basis like healthcare, raising the minimum wage, decreasing the gap between the 1% and everyone else (again, this benefits their wealthy benefactors).
In another sense, this may be a good sign because it means they’re getting desperate and that their values are dying as society changes both demographically and culturally. In the meantime, we need to continue to fight all of these kinds of “local” incursions against our Civil Rights until the day when these zealots no longer have a choke hold on the nation’s political agenda. I don’t care how they “phrase it”, discrimination is discrimination and I will oppose it to the bitter end. It’s a Rubicon that this country cannot afford to go back across because it will mean that the LGBTQIA won’t be the only group they can and will exclude from having all of the same Civil Rights that they enjoy. First they came for the Jews and I said nothing because I wasn’t Jewish, then they came for….
Edited after publication — see red text