Hate State Update: Even Gingrich is now criticizing Arizona anti-gay law

You know you’re in trouble when Fox News and Newt Gingrich accuse you of being too far to the right.

It’s been an amazing five days for Arizona, since the state’s Republican party got duped into passing SB1062, one of the most anti-gay, anti-business, and anti-American pieces of legislation that the religious has ever come up with.

The bill, which sits before Arizona’s Republican governor awaiting her possible signature, basically lets anyone in the state ignore any state law, court verdict or order, or contract they choose, so long as they claim that it offends their religious beliefs.  The proposed law was meant to be a swipe at gays, but suddenly people have realized that it essentially empowers everyone in the state to hate everyone else with impunity.

Don’t like Jews?  Don’t let ‘em shop in your store.  Find out the guy buying that pack of condoms, or Viagra, is a divorced Catholic?  Turn him away from your pharmacy.  And if you’re gay and you find evangelical Christians and their incessant intolerance intolerable, call the cops the next time they step foot in your grocery store, your doctor’s office, your hospital, or your ambulance.  Arizona has been trying for so long to give its people the ultimate power to hate, and it finally succeeded.

How did we get here? I suspect an unnamed religious right group has been shopping this purported “religious freedom” bill around the various states, and small-town Republican state reps have been chomping at the bit to offer it in order to prove their far-right manliness  In state after state, we’ve seen a version of this bill come up, but it hasn’t passed any of the legislatures until last week in Arizona.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Klan bake. Local and national business leaders, and even Republican leaders in Washington, started realizing that the Arizona law is freaking nuts.

The Arizona state legislature has managed to do what the state’s previous attacks on blacks and Latinos failed to accomplish: Provide a critical mass of national ire to finally brand Arizona as so hateful that even Republicans are finding its actions distasteful.

A new poll shows that 57% of Republicans in Arizona want Governor Brewer to veto the anti-gay bill.  That’s a 2-1 margin over those who say she should sign it.

Three GOP Arizona state lawmakers, who voted for the bill, have now written to the governor urging her to veto it. Now granted, those three Republicans are claiming that the bill is being mischaracterized by its opponents, and that as a result is has now caused immeasurable harm to Arizona’s reputation (that last part is true), and that’s why they now support a veto.  But nonetheless, it proves that even Arizona Republicans realize this was a huge mistake.

Heck, even Newt Gingrich came out against the law last night on Twitter:

gingrich-arizona-veto

And as I reported last night, a Fox News host agreed that the Arizona law sounds like “Jim Crow laws for homosexuals.”  I mean, that’s strong language for a liberal.  But for a Fox News host?

Of course, there’s a reason Republicans are beginning to freak out, and it’s not their new-found love of the gay.  The legislation might just permit discrimination against Christians too. Or at the very least, it would permit a flood of litigation that would swamp businesses and the state:

“The Federal Civil Rights Act, in the employment arena, applies to only business that have 15 or more employees. So a small business could say, ‘We have a religious objection to hiring someone because of their race or national origin or religion,’” Selden said.

However, he said the same rule wouldn’t apply to whether a business would have to provide service to people based on their race, religion or gender – which is governed by a different set of laws.

Irvine notes that the bill opens up the possibility that someone could raise religious objections to serving people based on their race, religion or gender – even though he doesn’t think the suits would be successful.

He said the bill appears to provide a basis for those types of claims, and the bill would result in a flood of litigation from people claiming their religious beliefs had been violated, even if state and federal law would ultimately trump those claims.

“Nothing is automatically preempted,” he said.

Those concerns have hit a chord with Mitt Romney, who is now on board the veto train as well:,

romney-arizona-veto

A lot of big corporations are coming out against the bill as well, including: Intel, Delta, PetSmart and Yelp.

Even Arizona’s two Republican Senators in Washington, Jeff Flake and John McCain, are calling for a veto.

And just when you thought you’d seen everything, Fox’s Megyn Kelly aned Brit Hume came out against the law, with Kelly calling it “potentially dangerous.”

And if that werent’ enough, Media Matters praised Fox News last night for its recent coverage of this issue:

arizona-sb1062

Arizona may have managed to accomplish what none of us could: Putting a stake through this last-gamp at anti-gay bigotry once and for all.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Apparently those are not the Republicans who vote, run for office, nor even speak up in defense of their own party, because the current Republicans in power federally, and in states across the nation, have all been dancing at the bottom of a bigot hole for more than six years now… and have only been getting worse.

  • JoeLorenzo

    Yes she is pretty. She’s also a lawyer and you’re a misogynist with an inferiority complex.

  • JoeLorenzo

    I know a lot of Republicans and not one of them could care less at all about restricting gays in any way. Are these politicians catering to the 70+ crowd? I don’t get it.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    I see your point. Maybe such laws as these, if they are not defeat, will encourage bigots to be more open with it. For they do already consider themselves to be oppressed under the tyrannical rule of “political correctness”, just as gun nuts imagine that all their toys are about to be confiscated.

  • The_Fixer

    Well, they aren’t all brainless. Just seems that way sometimes.

    I really think that there are those within the party who are smartening up. Even Gingrich, the three-time married “moral crusader” that he is, gets it. Grumpy McCain gets it, he was one who bought into the “let’s feed ‘em crap that they want to hear” school of thought. He used to be somewhat reasonable, and occasionally flashes that reasonableness from time to time. Like when he called Cruz a “goony bird”.

    But now they’re in the throes of reality, and they don’t know quite how to deal with what they’ve done. That’s where the eating their own comes in. How are they gonna dismiss those whose votes they’ve courted for so long, and still get elected?

    In the short term, it may be business as usual. Throw the base some red meat, and maybe the rubes will go along. Then (just as the Democrats have been experiencing), quietly drop their issues from national view. Or they might try and court the moderates, with a little success.

    Like I say, they may all appear to be stupid, but the more sensible ones really are a crafty bunch. Problem is, even being crafty won’t save them from a disastrous fate of their own making.

  • Anonymous

    Well, look at Stand Your Ground. I fear Stand Your God may spread because of apathetic voters. Who knows? But I hope this is the end as well.

  • Anonymous

    Change a few details and you describe 3rd world countries. Same shit, different skin color and religion. We’re doomed. BUT there’s always the “socialists” in Canada or Europe to run to.

  • Anonymous

    The Daily Mail regularly posts gloating articles about the harsh justice systems in the middle east. And the rabid religious nuts say “well if we beat people like this we wouldn’t have any problems.” It’s terrifying what stupidity and frustration can do to a society. Many people really have no comprehension of solving issues other than through violence.
    Honestly, I think these people would like to make it so that you get your hands sawn off for stealing a loaf of bread. Meanwhile the rich enjoy their palatial mansions for no real reason other than taking political control and deciding their own salaries.
    People have been primed to be dumb for decades. Now they’re both dumb and irrational. Look at how the media baits people into forming an angry mob every day. Only the most intelligent of us can see around that.

  • pappyvet

    Mighty white of them. Arizona’s anti-gay law is terrible because it was anti gay. They will go back to the drawing board to be sure.

  • Anonymous

    Aww come on nicho. They spent so much time and money on their bubble. Do you mean to tell me they can’t force people to be religious? I think overbreeding children and chucking bricks at each other over religion would really improve society. We have so many icky gays around and that can’t be good for us in the long run. I mean look at where the Constitution has gotten us. We should really emulate Uganda or Iraq. If only to show those ewwy gays and lib’rals that they can’t just have happy lives without religious people fucking it up!

  • Anonymous

    It’s their own fault really. They thought allowing the party to get hijacked by extremists would further their cause. Instead it backfired and revealed them as obstructionists. Now they will have to spend some time rebuilding their party if they want a chance in 2016. The anti-Hilary campaign failed when Bachmann said there can’t be a female president, despite having her own campaign. They went off the deep end from a standard smear campaign, right into sheer laughable hypocrisy.

    I almost feel sorry for them, kind of the way you feel sorry for someone who doesn’t know any better. Because they really don’t get why it’s not working. But then I remember that what they lack in brains, they make up for in hate and violence.

  • The_Fixer

    I think that this backlash among Republicans to this bill indicates the divisions in the party. Not all conservative Republicans are the same. It’s not really groupthink – though it appears to be at times.

    One the one hand, you have the real nuts who think that this bill is a good idea. They are the dyed-in-the-wool bible-thumping Dominionists. They want to make this country a theocracy. They also believe that God is on their side, which makes them a bit dangerous.

    Then you have sociopathic business people mixed with those who have more moderate religious views. They share common economic policy beliefs. It’s the usual “pull yourself up by your bootstraps, don’t steal my tax money” thing. The Dominionists may share this economic policy, but it’s likely rooted in the “prosperity gospel” ideal that there are those who deserve prosperity because of their belief.

    The more moderate bunch has convinced itself that it needs to appeal to the theocratic nuts in order to win elections. Up until now, that formula has seen success. However, the more moderate bunch isn’t as committed in their hatred of gays and minorities, and has adopted a pragmatic view that the country’s attitudes are changing. It’s no longer fashionable to hate on gays and other minorities. Part of the reason for that is higher gay visibility, both in the media and in people’s personal lives. More people coming out means more people are personally acquainted with gay people. The Internet has connected differing people in a way unseen in the past. Add to that, the younger people coming of voting age (who also are big users of this technology) don’t have the same level of fear/hate that their older counterparts do. They also have little affection for religion, and are much more accepting of people who are different to them.

    As a result, the extremists are losing political power. The Republican party is suffering, and will continue to suffer. The extremists will ultimately lose, but it is going to be a long, painful road for the party to travel.

    This will not happen immediately, nor will it happen linearly. But it will happen. Watching them eat their own will be interesting, and how the country deals with this division will be telling.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    Their end goal has never been anything but a theocracy.

    Oh, I don’t doubt that, but let me suggest that this push for legalization of discrimination as “freedom of religion” actually marks a retreat from that end goal of theocracy. The maneuver is essentially defensive in nature because active measures to enforce religious discrimination over an entire state are collapsing in too many places at once. So now the hope isn’t to extend bigotry to all but to wall bigotry off and protect it where it already exists.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    All that, too. Blood and circuses for the masses.

  • nicho

    Sounds about right. Just another wedge issue to take the spotlight off the fact that (a) the fascists are driving us into poverty and (b) the GOP — in fact the entire conservative movement — is an utter failure.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Pretty much, yep.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Of course the laws won’t stand up to even the mildest of Constitutional scrutiny.

    So that means its time to take a dive into motive. Who stands to benefit? Well, I think for the GOPer politicians, it’s because they think these bills will rile up their far-right Tea Bagger base. They’ve been running with anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-civil rights for anybody but white Christians gig for a while now, and these bills are just a step further in that direction.

    At the next layer, we have the conservative power-brokers and lobbyists, groups like ALEC and the think tanks, including the one behind the group that supposedly came up with the language for these unconstitutional bills, Ethics and Public Policy Center, and its sub-group, the American Religious Freedom Program. How do they stand to benefit?

    Well, one of the most obvious results is the commoner bigots will open their wallets and donate to the advocacy. They did it before with the fight against gay rights and marriage equality, now they’re just shifting gears and think they have a winner with this assertion of a religious freedom-to-be-a-bigot meme.

    But I think another is something they and their radical conservative friends have been wanting to do for a long time, and that’s to get a civil rights case before the Supreme Court, hoping for a ‘Citizens United’-type ruling that would put the individual right to discriminate ahead of the state interest in preventing such discrimination. One way to do that is to pass something so absurd, so ridiculously unconstitutional, it’s sure to get a hearing, with the hope that even if SCOTUS overturns the discrimination-enabling law as going too far, there’s a chance for the justices to elucidate what kinds of civil rights discrimination they would deem acceptable.

  • nicho

    I don’t think any of these laws would stand up. Religious beliefs cannot wantonly trump laws. You may believe that god wants you to whip yourself as an act of penance for your sins. Be my guest. I don’t think the law or the state or anyone should stop you. However, you cannot start whipping your neighbor for what you imagine to be his sins. That’s what we have laws for.

    The difference is between what we call “self-regarding behavior” and “other-regarding behavior.” You can follow your religious beliefs rigorously, as long as it is limited to self-regarding behavior. Suppose your religious beliefs tell you that you need to get up at 3 a.m. and pray for an hour. I would defend your right to do that. Now, suppose your religious beliefs tells you to get up at 3 a.m. and pray by ringing a large gong and shrieking for an hour. If you live in the apartment next to me, I fully expect the police to come and make you stop.

    These laws clearly cross the line from self-regarding behavior to other-regarding behavior. Anyone with an IQ over 10 can see that. The mischief from these laws would be incalculable. As usual, with these laws emanating from the depths of conservative insanity (but I repeat myself), they are very sloppily written and are just cesspools of unintended consequences.

  • 2karmanot

    Yet, one might opine that Megyn Kelly would consider a broken nail—potentially life threatening.

  • Silver_Witch

    Once they realized that Christians could be discriminated against by us Crazy Ass Pagans…they are running in the other direction!!!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeppers. Among the many reasons why local and national businesses are coming out against this law is because many of them have non-discrimination policies.

    Having such policies is good PR, good business, and it helps avoid expensive litigation.

    The Arizona law — and many of the others being introduced just like it — appear in their plain language to give any employee the legal right to defy such corporate policies, just as long as it’s justified by an assertion of religious belief, regardless whether the asserted belief is part of any organized mainstream religion’s teachings.

    I think a better name for this type of bill, which always fly under ‘religious freedom’ names, would be “The Guaranteed Employment for Bigots Act.”

  • Stev84

    Their end goal has never been anything but a theocracy. This will allow them to discriminate against anyone they hate. Which is everyone who isn’t a straight, white, male, rich Christian belonging to the church that wins the inevitable civil war between the thousands of different sects.

  • Stev84

    The Christian Taliban

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    Judging from the comments of Clevelandchick and JayRandal, I guess we’re now seeing the religious right’s new direction in concerted action. As usual my own prediction was wrong: I thought that, after the flurry of good news about marriage equality across the country, the religious right’s new tack would be a last-ditch campaign for a U.S. constitutional amendment in an attempt to override all the state-level decisions that have been going against them. But perhaps they know how poor their chances are for such an amendment.

  • Clevelandchick

    FYI, Ohio has an identical bill with 45 signatures, co-sponsored with a Republican by a freaking Cleveland Democrat named Bill Patmon. Money quotes from this waste of carbon-based life:

    “The Ohio bill has had two hearings before the House Judiciary
    Committee. Patmon described it as “a no-brainer” when it was introduced
    at a news conference in December. He said some of the people in his
    district “need to be exposed to the grace of God.”

    “This is a Judeo-Christian country,” Patmon said. “As we have gone
    through time and decided we were going to give different definitions and
    talk about how there’s a separation between church and state… there’s
    no separation between God and man.”

    http://outlookcolumbus.com/2014/02/ohio-religious-freedom-bill-nearly-identical-to-arizonas/

  • JayRandal

    I reside in state of Georgia where an exact replica discrimination act like in Arizona being pushed by religious extremists. This fight against homophobic bigotry is just starting nationwide. I am fighting it
    across the board. My own livelihood as Gay male at stake in Georgia.

  • jomicur

    Given the relentless, single-minded hate that fuels the religious right, it was inevitable a bill like this would be passed somewhere, sooner or later. Let’s hope the backlash again the AZ law will discourage other states from trying anything similar.

  • lynchie

    Good points. Sad to say the vetoing is about potential loss of money not about the real issue which is bigotry. Money will always trump everything else and while that will hopefully bury this bill the bigotry is never dealt with.

  • nicho

    Religion has always been Us vs. Them

  • Will

    Great article, I was wondering how the whole thing worked with simultaneous bills popping up.

    I know it’s serious subject matter, but this gave me a nice chuckle – “Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Klan bake.”

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think that what is going on here is the right is working hard to create an alibi for the decision Brewer has already taken to veto.

    This law would be really bad for business because it empowers employees to act on their religious bigotries, not just CEOs. So this isn’t the CEO and owner of Hobby Lobby going off on a personal crusade, this could be a Barista in Starbucks refusing to take money from Jews, Muslims, Black people or gays.

    And it is really bad for businesses looking to move to Arizona. Apple is building a factory to make their sapphire glass there. How are they going to persuade tech workers to move there if the state is passing Jim Crow 2.0 laws? Part of the damage is already done but it will be a lot worse if it isn’t vetoed.

    Most people considering moving in are likely less worried about this particular bill than what it says about the state. The school boards are going to be infested by the same type of small minded bigots pushing their wingnut theology into the textbooks: creationism, abstinence only, all the other crazy. So even if the bill is vetoed, it has done real damage. The real point of the bill is to plant a flag for bigotry on the state. They have the most corrupt, worst sheriff in the country and they want to double down on racism and bigotry. Shame on them.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    Someone clued these ***hats in on the fact that the law is not written as a one-way street. Nothing worse for some people than a level playing field.

  • http://twitter.com/rickroberts Rick Roberts

    Religion really does poison everything.

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