Stephen Colbert on SB1062 going down in Arizona

Last night, American comedian Stephen Colbert covered the story of the demise of SB1062, the supposed “religious freedom” bill in Arizona that would have permitted businesses in the state to stop serving gay customers, and far more.

Responding to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer saying she vetoed the bill because there wasn’t any evidence that the religious beliefs of Arizonans were being violated by gays and others, Colbert replied:

“Excuse me, governor. Just because you don’t see religious liberty being violated, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You have to have faith and believe that gays are destroying christianity.”

stephen-colbert-arizona-gay-sb1062

It really was a remarkable victory.  I’m still a bit blown over that so many national businesses, national Republicans, and even the NFL itself, raised concerns about the legislation.

And while it’s fine to say “well, the bill was so extreme,” lots of bills are extreme. And they get passed anyway, often with the support of big business, such as in Tennessee a few years back when the US Chamber of Commerce helped repeal, and then ban, gay and trans civil rights laws in that state.

This was quite unprecedented what happened.  And whether it’s a sign of changing times, or just a unique perfect storm of outrage, time will tell.


(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+. 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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  • future_man

    If you happen to get resuscitated by gay mouth-to-mouth you can use “pray away the gay” mouthwash….it contains sacred drops of holy water from the plains of Armageddon, you’ll need that. A thorough rinse everyday for five years will go a long way to restoring you to normal. Everyone should have several cases in their home survival kit….tho you can’t get any at Costco since the anti-free market liberals won’t let ‘em sell it! Bible haters…every last one of ‘em!

  • future_man

    For a long time now gay people have been baking cakes for heterosexual weddings as well as joining in the festivities. The fact that a majority of people in the US now want to return the favor speaks well for us as a country.

    It’s overall a really nice feel good moment…and a culmination of a great deal of work…many woman hours and man hours invested for sure.

    Personally I’m really happy that more of the young people coming up feel they now live in a world where homo-normativity is on par with hetero-normativity.

    Not sure if that is the appetizer, the main course, the side dish, the cake or the icing but I have to say I like the sound of what I am hearing generationally.

    Peace.

  • Phylter

    I guess Poe’s law strikes again then…:)

  • 2karmanot

    #snark

  • Phylter

    No offence, but I don’t agree with you. By doing that, you’ve let their bigotry win. These knuckledraggers need to be confronted with their hatred. And it needs to hit them in the wallet.

    Let them see money walking out the door because of their bigotry.

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

    Thanks. In the past, the jurisprudence on the matter is it’s irrelevant wherever there is a compelling governmental or societal interest in regulating the exercise of specific religious beliefs.

    Thus we do not have Mosques blaring the call to prayers five times a day — because noise ordinances have been upheld. Native Americans that used to use peyote in sacred ceremonies remain banned in doing so.

    However, for example, while the Catholic Church may say who can and cannot be a priest, because that is a religious role within their own theocratic hierarchy, if they hire someone to do their books or to do construction work, they may not say, “We will not hire a woman for that.”

    Over the decades and generations, U.S. courts have managed to draw a fairly clear line between the religious and the secular. It’s only been in the last five or so that the religious folks have been trying to assert for an expansion of the definition of ‘religious’. And they think they can chip away at secular civil rights and in favor of discrimination by chipping away and cherry picking at cases. Contraception for women. Bakers and photographers for gay weddings. Constantly yawping about a ‘war on religion’ (which with a wink and a nod they actually mean ONLY a “war on fundamentalist Christianity and its asserted right to dominate utterly in American culture.”

    In as much as I was pessimistic the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn DOMA and Prop 8, I was surprised and gratified when they did. And much of the language cited in the majority opinion was that there is no rational, non-religious reason to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians. And moreover, that religious reasons do not suffice to deny those rights.

    So I’m now, as they say, cautiously optimistic that these latest attempts — including the attempt to extend corporate and business personhood to include religious exemptions that override other people’s civil rights — won’t stand SCOTUS scrutiny. Because seriously, they claim it’s about opposition to gay marriages and contraceptive medication, but this is no slippery slope. These new swarms of laws are written in such a way as to make any form of discrimination legal, and that’s not likely to fly in the courts.

  • chrislib

    Mammon-servers 1, faith-based bullies 0. Actually it’s 3-0 since Ohio and Georgia pulled identical legislation right afterwards. Mustn’t let faith-based bullying interfere with making money.

  • Buford

    Nicely written. The part I never understood was the lack of a test to objectively prove that a need to discriminate was really a tenet of any given faith. If the bill had become law, and if a hypothetical Christian claimed that their faith required them to not participate in Activity X, there seemed to be no test to determine if that was defensible or not.

    Seems to me that Christians should have had to prove, legally, how their faith requires them to avoid support of gay weddings… or dispensing contraception… etc. THAT’s the court case I would be watching with great interest, since it would be pretty easy for any lawyer to disprove that the Bible is anti-equality, or anti-abortion, etc.

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    As for bakers, etc.: It’s called “work for hire” — ask any freelancer. You take a commission to write ad copy or an art catalogue, or photograph people eating yogurt, or make a cake for a special occasion; you don’t get to dictate content, and you retain no rights. You just do the work within the given parameters, collect your fee, and go on to the next job.

    Or you can whine about being an “artist” and starve.

    County clerks, etc., are if anything even more egregious: there’s always the danger of violating the Establishment Clause by trying to force others to comply with your religious beliefs as an agent of the state. And if a particular class of people have to jump through hoops to get a marriage license, that can be construed as an “undue burden” — how’s that for turning the argument around?

  • future_man

    Shopping Tip: If you are in AZ and want a cake for your ceremony be sure to ask for Angel Food with white icing. If you ask for Devil’s Food then the bakers could get suspicious and ask too many questions.

    And, if you want Devil’s Food with red icing, be extra careful because the pastry shop owner might go for the rifle.

    Finally, when you go to pick up your Angel Food cake, if you want the two plastic figures on the top to be a gender match, be sure to say it’s a double wedding so you purchase two sets.

    Once you get home you can have fun creating a match that looks like you.

  • pappyvet

    Good point Karmanot , I think that perhaps that straight person would be saved because Gawd works in mysterious ways. They would no doubt come up with some lame ass rationalization.

  • 2karmanot

    I guess gay nurses would have to abstain from helping straight patients needing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because of their religious beliefs. I mean, can you imagine having to admit your life was saved by a spawn of Satan.

  • 2karmanot

    I guess that means no penis cakes for stag events.

  • MikeDebee

    If you want to discriminate in your bakery, studio, etc., form a private club, not a public concession.

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

    Overreach and glaringly obvious blindspots did in SB1062. That, and of course the need to avoid the Romer v. Evans triggers.

    For those who don’t remember, when Colorado was in one of its more ‘Red’ phases, they passed a state constitutional amendment not only to repeal any existing pro-gay civil rights protections, but to forever bar any new laws to protect civil rights for gays, lesbians, or bisexuals. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that the amendment was unconstitutional (federally) because it did not meet the rational basis test under equal protection. In other words, Colorado had no rational basis for banning LGBT-protecting laws, and in fact it was nothing but anti-gay animus motivating their amendment.

    Romer was also cited in Lawrence v Texas (the case overturning all sodomy and ‘sin against nature’ laws as applied to homosexuality) and the DOMA overturn.

    So the version of the ‘religious freedom’ law passed by the Arizona legislature omitted any mention of exactly WHO would be permitted to be discriminated against. Although of course, from the way the law was presented and discussed, with the constant bigoted blather about how incredibly offensive it was to force a baker or florist to practice their “art” in the service of a gay marriage, the legislative intent was clear. (And, by the way, would have served as further grounds for overturning SB1062 had Brewer signed it into law. Stated legislative intent was among the reasons SCOTUS overturned Section 3 of DOMA — as proven through the statements of anti-gay animus on the part of U.S. Congressweasels.)

    However, as is common in classic bigotry, the bigot never imagines discrimination could ever be directed back at him. Thus the blindspots big enough to fly a 747 through. I’d wager anything it didn’t occur to any of the Arizona GOPers voting for the bill that it could result in Christians being discriminated against by Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or Native Americans. Or that in one fell swoop, they very nearly created a legal basis for Islamic Sharia law.

    As for overreach… the radical rightists have made no secret of the fact they want to repeal or overturn the 1965 Civil Rights Act. In this, I am of the opinion in this respect SB1062 hit its intended mark, because as far as Arizona law was concerned, it would once again be legal for anyone to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation as well as race, gender, marital status, religion, disability, age or national origin — all by invoking the magic words, “It’s against my religious beliefs.

    The part I find interesting is how this radical conservative movement truly believes they can invoke their religious beliefs, to the exclusion of all others, as the one and only rule for the country.

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

    Well, I’m sure the Dutch didn’t ban Christmas because they felt it was too celebratory and had no Biblical justification, and I doubt they punished people for doing more work than walking to church on Sundays. So your puritanical mileage may vary. :)

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    Comparatively liberal.

  • 2karmanot

    I hear skin head barbers are popular.

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

    The main reason for them leaving Holland was because they had no interest in learning the language or adapting to the culture. They wanted to remain only in their own tiny puritanical community, and that made it difficult for them to earn a living in a relatively large city environment of the time. Plus, it scared them to death that their children were more interested in being part of the comparatively liberal Dutch society than their own. Now, keep in mind, the Dutch themselves were hardly liberal, by any standard, they were still having witch trials up until about the time the pilgrims arrived.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    I didn’t say they did. But they weren’t happy in Holland because they were British for one, but also as liberal as it was there it still wasn’t what they wanted. Given the fact that they were zealots that’s not surprising.

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

    They never seem to understand that the all of the founding documents that speak about freedom of religion is actually supposed to mean freedom from religion, not that religious people can do whatever they want as long as they claim God agrees with them.

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

    Hey, jobs in the Russian oil industry worked out well for the Kochs.

  • FLL

    Yes, I can imagine those right-wing legislators had a few twisted fantasies about “straight-only” lunch counters.

  • MichaelS

    well, the slippery slope tat the bigots so much want to go down isn’t limited to professions catering to gay weddings. They want to be able to refuse a gay taxi passenger, because driving one amounts to approval of that person’s lifestyle, which is contrary to their religion. Or serve lunch at a restaurant. Or anything. No, they were definitely in it for more than just weddings.

  • FLL

    Now that you mention it, there are occasional posts on wingnut bulletin boards by “white Christian identity” people about job opportunities in Russia. I’m not kidding. They’re probably talking about jobs in Russia’s oil industry.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    I say let’s bring back burning people at the stake and start with the Christian Fundamentalists. Perhaps we should just help them emigrate to Madagascar. Well, I’m open to suggestions.

  • nicho

    Nobody in Holland was doing to them what they did to other people once they got here.

  • FLL

    The bigots are trying to make a fuss by actively looking for fundamentalist Christians who are in those specialized occupations that are involved with weddings: bakers, photographers, wedding planners and landlords who rent reception halls. Why don’t we just say that they are in the same situation as county clerks? If you’re a county clerk, you need to be able to do your job and sign marriage certificates for same-sex couples… or don’t work as a county clerk. The same logic applies to bakers, photographers, wedding planners and reception hall owners. Doesn’t it?

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    This is mostly true. There were other issues in Holland with religious freedom but they could have stuck it out.

  • nicho

    What people need to understand is that “religious freedom” has always been the code for “religious intolerance” in the US.

    Ask any school kid and 99 percent of adults about the Pilgrims, and they will tell you that the Pilgrims came to America “seeking religious freedom.” That is just utter bullshit. The Pilgrims had been living in tolerant Holland, where they had religious freedom. They came to the new world to establish a theocratic society — and that’s just what they did. They persecuted — and even killed — other Christians who did not adhere to their beliefs. In some states ruled by the Congregationalists (who weren’t as nice as they are today) you could not hold public office unless you were a member of the Congregationalist Church. (This is why the Founders found it necessary to add the “no religious test” clause.)

    The Congregationalists in Boston hanged Quakers on Boston Common. Baptists, ironically, were a despised and persecuted sect. (They have since overcome that handicap and now despise and persecute others who don’t hold their beliefs — again under the guise of “religious freedom.”)

    Roger Williams had to flee intolerant Massachusetts to set up a colony based on real religious freedom in Rhode Island.

    And then there was that whole business of hanging “witches” in Salem and Peabody. However, there is a school of thought that the whole mess was the result of a property dispute. If you drew a line through the area, all of the victims lived on one side of the line and all of the accusers lived on the other side. Accusations of witchcraft were just a way of glossing over the religious murders, which settled old scores among families.

  • Badgerite

    I think what is happening in Uganda and what has happened in Russia may have had the opposite effect of what the fanatic, hate filled segment of the religious right was hoping. I think it has turned people against their argument. Because people can see where they would head with it if left unrestrained. And it is not pretty.

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