Anti-gay bill raises questions, discrimination based on religion

Autumn Kunkel and Autumn Kunkel

Last Friday, Arizona lawmakers passed a bill pushed forth by Republicans, which would allow businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians on the grounds of religion.

The law has become a source of outrage among citizens across the U.S., with many claiming that it is nothing more than a form of institutionalized discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. Republican proponents, however, have stated that the purpose of the bill is to allow people to exercise religious freedom, not to encourage hatred or discrimination.

The fate of the legislation currently lies with governor of Arizona Jan Brewer, who is deciding whether or not to veto.

Upon reading about the bill myself, I found that I had a lot of questions for supporters.

First, how will business owners know that their customers are gay or lesbian?

If a gay couple is not being outwardly affectionate, what will give their identity away?

They could just be friends; wouldn’t it be rude to accuse someone of fornicating with their friend? And if two “suspicious” customers did, in fact, turn out to be a gay couple, wouldn’t it be rude to suggest to them, mere shoppers going about their daily lives, that there is something wrong with who they are?

What about customers who are alone? How will store owners know then? Will they make assumptions about people based on certain stereotypes?

If so, wouldn’t this cause more problems than the bill is supposed to solve? What if I travelled to Arizona, hit the local businesses and decided to wear something more masculine, an outfit that might, stereotypically, typecast me as a lesbian?

Would I get kicked out on the grounds of not looking “straight” enough? Right from the get-go, the bill appears to be more troublesome than it’s worth.

Second, what’s all this talk about refusal of service as long as there’s a religious assertion?

So, if being gay is against a business owner’s religious beliefs, they’re allowed to kick LGBTQ persons out?

Well, what about all of the other forms of discrimination one could make based on religion, alone?

Technically, the Bible or any other religious text can be used for all sorts of discrimination, whether it’s racist, sexist, or even religious-intolerant.

Would the bill allow that, or is its purpose to exclude only homosexuals? What if a business owner went up to a black customer and asserted that they were refusing service to them on the grounds of their religion?

How does one expect that situation to turn out? Would it be acceptable because the owner of the institution is exercising his or her religious beliefs?

Something tells me that such an occurrence wouldn’t blow over too well.

As mentioned above, one could use religion to justify any sort of discrimination, and such a bill would open up an awful lot of doors to multiple forms of the act. This is one of those little details that Republicans seemed to have overlooked.

Some of the questions that I’ve posed in this column might seem absurd, but that’s the take-home point I’m driving at.

The bill is an absurd piece of legislation, something so ridiculous that it doesn’t deserve to be treated with any amount of respect or dignity.

The law is nothing more than an outlandish attempt to legalize discrimination, all in the guise of religious freedom, and I can only hope that Brewer comes to her most basic senses before anyone is further denied their rights.

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