If they have any memory at all, they should be very nervous.
Anyone who's lived in the Grand Canyon State since the early '90s probably remembers that it took the business sector, in alliance with universities, nonprofits and civil rights groups, to overturn fuckwit Evan Mecham's recision of MLK Day. After all, the NFL moved the Super Bowl from Tempe to Pasadena (a $150 million loss), tons of groups cancelled conventions, and many tourists stayed away—in a state whose economy is absolutely dependent on tourism.
That same influence was on display in 2011 when Senate President Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, thought he had carte blanche to ram through even more racist legislation. It was a letter from more than 60 CEOs and other community leaders that encouraged halfway sane elected officials to reject every one of Pearce's bigoted proposals. Oh, it was a great night!
In the wake of the Legislature's approval this week of SB 1062, a law that will allow businesses to deny service to anyone based on religious convictions, the state's business leaders have already sent letters to Gov. Jan Brewer, urging her to veto this latest POS:
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council on Friday urged a veto of the controversial legislation that would allow discrimination against gays, saying it could affect Super Bowl XLIX and have “profound, negative” economic effects for years to come.
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The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce hasn't taken an official position on the bill (way to show a spine, guys) but they did say “[O]ur review of the bill raises concerns about the uncertainties this would create for our member businesses." Uncertainties is too namby pamby. Not only is this turd of a bill wrong on moral grounds, it's a practical boondoggle: Will Muslim taxi drivers be allowed to refuse to take someone to a synagogue? Can women be denied service or employment from people whose religions don't see them as equal? Can police or first responders refuse to treat gays? And how the heck do anti-LGBT bigots even know their customers are not straight?
Governor Brewer, who has five days to make a decision, vetoed similar legislation last year, but then it was part of a larger package. Brewer has called SB 1062 a "controversial" bill, but so was the "papers please" law and look what she did in 2010. Signed it! Not taking any chances, other statewide groups have also urged her to do the right thing:
More than 850 companies and nonprofit groups have signed a Unity Pledge encouraging diversity, including that for LGBT employees, according to ONE Community. These include large local employers PetSmart, Liberty Mutual, Allstate and Apollo Group.This latest reprehensible fuckup comes during the same week Google announced plans to upgrade Phoenix's internet services. How will gay bashing go over with Goggle and other high-tech companies Arizona is trying to attract? Arizona's economy is finally on the uptick, after years of suffering through the GOP's tax breaks for corporations at the expense of education and social services, so I guess the shit-for-brains leadership at the Legislature felt it was time to throw another racist monkey wrench into the muck. They just can't help themselves.
And it's working: the state's tourism industry is reporting that they are already receiving "countless phone calls and e-mails" from groups threatening to cancel conventions. That's on top of hundreds of online comments from people nationwide who say they'll stay away from Arizona. It's common knowledge among hospitality officials that tolerant communities perform better economically, which is one reason more tourism-dependent cities target LGBT travelers.
That just got a bit more difficult here. Tourism spokespersons say critics are already urging the NFL to move the 2015 Super Bowl, which is scheduled to take place in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale. Anyone remember 1993? Heck, even the Arizona Republic, not exactly a liberal rag, said in today's editorial that Brewer should veto this racist crapola:
This bill is a do-it-yourself black eye that would tag Arizona as a champion of anachronistic views of sexual orientation. That’s not just the wrong side of history; it’s the dumb side of economic development. We urge the governor to veto this bill as part of her continuing message that Arizona is open for business.The bill is spearheaded by Cathi Herrod and her homophobic Center for Arizona Policy. Scratch beneath the ugly surface of any anti-LGBT law here and you'll find Herrod, in lockstep with the Legislature's powerful hard-right Christian pinheads. Adding a same-sex ban to the state's friggin' constitution, for example, was partly Herrod's doing in 2008.
"I think Prop. 102 shows Arizona can unite around a timeless family value," said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which successfully lobbied lawmakers to put the measure on the ballot.We still don't know if Jan Brewer will challenge the view that she's already served two terms, making her ineligible to run again in 2016. Because Brewer became governor in 2009 when Janet Napolitano left to become Secretary of Homeland Security, her first term wasn't four full years, although most legal scholars say that doesn't matter: the constitution says "any or all" parts of a term. If she does decide to run again, her signature on this extremist and divisive bill will serve her about as well as an endorsement from Ted Nugent. And what governor would want that?