THE BLOG

Arizona Is Better Than This

02/25/2014 06:12 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2014

Here we go again. Arizona lawmakers need to get a reality check on the effects of SB 1062. The local economy will suffer just like when SB 1070 was made into law affecting both commerce and reputation. Does Arizona really have to go through this again?

Growing up in Arizona in the seventies, I was taught civics at Mingus Union High School. According to the Arizona state constitution Article 2 section 3, "The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land." Thus the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

What part of that calls for the establishment of religion? This is exactly what SB1062 does by mentioning, "deeply held religious beliefs" as a way to enshrine discrimination.

Arizona has always been a melting pot for cultural and religious groups. Scientology was invented here; Mormons have been living here for decades; and let's not forget the five different Native American tribes who had to give up land so the white man could establish a completely different assortment of religious ideas.

A group of those religious Arizona lawmakers want to keep oppressing us by way of asserting their will onto others. The fundamental "religious right" members of the House and Senate, with the support of "conservative" groups like the Center for Arizona Policy and the Alliance Defense Fund, have crafted a way to slowly deteriorate our individual liberties, and make us look like fools to the rest of the country. The encroachment of these "think tanks" into public policy has gone on far too long, and frankly most Arizonans are sick and tired of it.

While the intent of the bill is to keep the state from interfering on behalf of citizens exercising their religion, the loose wording gives preference to some and not others, and opens up the door to boycotts and lawsuits.

Many people remember my grandfather, Barry Goldwater, and his feelings towards the "religious right" and their potential for the destruction of the civil dialogue in politics. He is quoted as saying "the religious right scares the hell out of me." And that they will be "a terrible damn problem."

My grandfather was one of the first politicians to support gays serving openly in the military, and was known for being pro-choice and pro-immigration.

The current crop of Arizona Republicans has forgotten his policies and replaced them with the policies of divide and conquer.

Recently Arizona has had a history of political follies. From the MLK Day disaster, to a finger in the president's face, we are a national joke. Somehow Arizonans vote this crowd in, but it's time to make a change. The legislature has done nothing to improve the state except waste time on bills like this. The potential economic cost could be devastating. Tourism, conventions, trade shows, and celebrities are threatening to boycott. With the spotlight on Super Bowl XLIX, some legislators are pushing us into an even deeper hole that will take us years to dig out.

Gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal stated, "If I were governor, I wouldn't have waited for this bill to get to my desk. I would have stopped it before it passed. I would have made it very clear to the legislature that they shouldn't bother sending me this. This bill won't solve any of the problems facing Arizona families. In fact, it will be a job killer."

We in Arizona have to wake up and be more proactive. Everyone has a voice, everyone has a vote, and we can all make a difference by electing fair minded politicians who can keep their "deeply held beliefs" out of the political process.

Governor Brewer is running out the clock. If she does nothing before Saturday, the bill becomes law. Urge her to do the right thing and veto this bill.

SB 1062 is controversial, yes, but also unconstitutional and bad for business. It is a slap in the face to people like me who call this state home.