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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/27/14

Two Governors, One Agenda?

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     "To the supporters of this legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes, 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 nobody could ever want."


       "Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."

Two governors with the (supposedly) same agenda: addressing issues affecting their respective states. Both seem sincere in their commitment to state governance. Both are dealing with religious freedom and gay rights. Both attitudes have far-reaching implications.

Jan Brewer's decision to veto the "religious freedom" bill (SB1062) may be the more relevant of the two: the states of Missouri, Georgia, Maine, Kansas, South Dakota, Oregon and Tennessee are considering similar bills (Ohio has withdrawn theirs in the wake of the Arizona veto). Some of these states are scampering around with revisions, of course, because SB1062 was too broad: the defining weakness of it. In effect, it gave every business the right to refuse service to anyone on the basis of religious beliefs. (Anderson Cooper posed the question to the bill's author: "What if a a hotel refuses to rent a room to an unwed mother?" to which the author simply stated "that's never happened."). In other words, a Phil Robertson in Arizona could refuse to sell duck calls to an unwed couple. Might float in Tennessee, of course, but in Arizona?  

Many of the bill's supporters (and quite a few right-wing media pundits) simply scoffed at gays and told them to get services elsewhere.  

The Religious Liberty Movement

Yes, it's a movement, but unlike other political movements, it is undoubtedly sponsored by God. And God wants people to discriminate. And if people who want to do what God wants them to do are in the majority, God help those in the minority (sorry). This is in essence is what Texas Governor Rick Perry is saying about his state's right to ban same-sex marriage: "Texas is a Christian state, so don't tell us what to do if it violates our beliefs."  

"Screw gay Texans."

Of course, Rick Perry's tirade also sparked visions of baffoonery: he was pictured in his ill-fated "When gays can serve openly in the military" ad wearing the Brokeback Mountain jacket. But on the same token, it caused concern for the safety of Justice Garcia: there are too many Christofascists and too many guns in Texas. Then in a fit of Texas pique, state senator Dan Patrick tweeted an embarrassing gaff.

Everyone thought it was from a Tea Party favorite. If nothing else, Texas entertains.  

And so does Pat Robertson, who, from his bastion of senility, demanded that Eric Holder be impeached because he is raising sodomy over the rights of religious people.

Or something like that.

The Long, Long Haul.  

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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