In today's Rachel Maddow show (which is still going on, on the west coast), Rachel consistently kept calling it the anti-gay bill, and described the discrimination possible against gays in various example scenarios. She neglected to mention altogether that the Arizona bill is far more wide-reaching than other bills recently drafted in other states - it is not in any way limited to discrimination against gays or same-sex couples. Jed Lewison's recent diary and several other news articles have also simply referred (at least in their titles) to this as the "anti-gay bill", to discrimination against gays that this law allows.
This is, of course, very wrong. The sad fact is that this law doesn't make things worse for gays AT ALL. Arizona does not have any protection for sexual orientation to start with. People can discriminate right now against gays with absolutely no legal repercussions.
What it does allow now, however, is every other form of discrimination against everybody under the sun.
Here is what SB1062 allows in Arizona, should it pass.
-- A hindu brahmin doctor can refuse to provide medical service to patients who eat meat, as this is against his beliefs.
-- A muslim lawyer can refuse to take your case if you drink alcohol or eat pork.
-- A Sikh teacher might refuse to teach your kids, if they violate some tenet of the Sikh faith.
-- A Jewish cop might refuse to help you should you be a victim of a crime, should you be violating the Sabbath.
-- A Jain plumber and contractor might refuse to come out and fix your water main breakage should you not be a vegan complying with his strict Jain principles.
-- An extreme Taliban-like individual (I won't call them a muslim, as it's absolutely a violation of the Koran) can discriminate against women and children for just being alone in a public place.
-- A white supremacist might interpret the bible to say black people are less than a human. Yes, why shouldn't he be allowed to return to "No n*** allowed"?
As I'm an atheist, I'm probably the only person who wouldn't get to discriminate against anyone. Perhaps I could say it's against my religious beliefs to support irrational idiots. Yes, that's the ticket. This bill is frightening in its sweeping blindness, it's whole-hearted, miserable embrace of a dark and disingenuous past. We cannot overstate its dreadful malignancy. And it's only when pointing out the frightening reach of the bill can you make people understand the impact of this bill. It's only when they're walking a mile in the victim's shoes, do they get shaken out of their apathy and prejudice clouding their judgement.
Rachel, Jed and everybody else who simply refer to this as an anti-gay bill don't go far enough. Liberals don't need lessons in why discrimination is wrong. The ignorant and prejudiced supporters of this bill don't have a clue what they are doing, even the legislators who signed it.
Update: Thanks for reading and all your thoughtful comments, everybody! Ended up called away on an emergency and so can't go through and respond and rec all these great comments today, but am very appreciative of your kindness and interest. I certainly didn't mean to be even remotely sensationalist or critical of Rachel (whom I love, love, love) and Jed (ditto). Wasn't expecting the mischaracterization to mean anything other than "not fully portraying full impact." I'm not going to have connectivity for very long but I am trying very hard to wrap my head around all the implications of this bill and still learning a lot. Much thanks!