Nearly a quarter of the country have recently considered or are still considering bills similar to the "License to Discriminate" SB 1062 that was vetoed this week by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
SB 1062, also known as "License to Discriminate," would have enabled business owners in Arizona to legally refuse service to people for being LGBT. As legislatures approved the proposed law, politicians, sports leagues, faith leaders, and more than 80 companies urged Gov. Brewer to veto it, naming the bill as blatant discrimination and dangerous to the local economy.
Undoubtedly, the end of SB 1062 is something to be celebrated—but it is not an opportunity to rest. In Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, and South Dakota, bills continue same vain as Arizona's continue to exist. Similar ones have been shot down or withdrawn in Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Tennessee, and Utah.
Though, as with Arizona's now-defunct bill, a number of these bills do not explicitly target the LGBT community by name, LGBT folks would most likely be targeted in practice, as they have previously been turned away from businesses citing religious beliefs. Additionally, as the video above states, in states including Arizona, there are no anti-discrimination laws on the books to protect the community from discrimination.
CNN provided a succinct rundown of the remaining bills today in an article titled "Arizona's anti-gay bill veto unlikely to end 'religious freedom' movement." Check it out for descriptions of each state's proposals and how close they are to being signed into law.
Displaying a disconnect between government officials' behaviors and the American people's interests, a survey conducted by The Huffington Post recently found that the majority of Americans, across the political spectrum, oppose legislation that allows business owners to deny customers' service if the owners claim doing otherwise would violate their beliefs.
While such laws would be detrimental to the LGBT community at large, The Advocate recently highlighted how the trans community would be impacted to a heightened degree. In "Proposed AZ Law Adds More Bias Toward Trans People," Arizona resident and trans advocate Toni D'orsay, who serves as This is HOW's executive director, is explained:
"How is one going to know someone is 'gay?' Unless they have a personal knowledge of the person, they are going to go after what they think of as gay, and all too often that means, in the minds of the general public, trans people, just as it did in NYC in the late 1960's," D'orsay said, referencing the Stonewall riots, one of the early catalysts in the LGBT movement, in which trans people played a key role. . . "As one of the trans leaders in the state, I can say that the antagonism against our lives as pushed by right wing groups like the Center for Arizona Policy and its leader, Cathi Herrod, are behind the bill," D'orsay said. "Most of the legislature is not particular anti-trans, it is a group of those from the right who represent very affluent, very pale districts that have the problem."
As GLAAD celebrates the narrow victory in Arizona, we urge you to join us as we work to stop bills that are pointedly bad for these states, bad for LGBT people, and bad for business.