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.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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