George Takei has written an extraordinary response to Arizona's ridiculous anti-gay law, and it's predictably great.
Last week, Arizona legislators passed one of the shittiest laws ever in recent memory. Disguised as what conservative lawmakers call a religious freedom bill, the law would essentially make A-OK peachy keen dandy just fine for businesses to outright refuse service to gay patrons, among many, many other shitty things.
Unsurprisingly, people have been pretty horrified that in 2014 a state government would pass a law like this. The backlash against lawmakers has also given us gems like this, via Tuscon eatery Rocco's :
But leave it social media genius Takei to pen this takedown of the bill, and remind Arizona just what they could be facing if this thing becomes an actual law.
Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individual's "sincerely held religious belief." This "turn away the gay" bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us.
He's not exaggerating. That's exactly what this bill does. It makes it legal to discriminate against gays. Seriously.
Kansas tried to pass a similar law, but had the good sense to not let it come up for a vote. The quashing came only after the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other traditional conservative groups came out strongly against the bill.
But not you, Arizona. You're willing to ostracize and marginalize LGBT people to score political points with the extreme right of the Republican Party. You say this bill protects "religious freedom," but no one is fooled. When I was younger, people used "God's Will" as a reason to keep the races separate, too. Make no mistake, this is the new segregation, yours is a Jim Crow law, and you are about to make yourself ground zero.
By the way, what does it say about your state government when Kansas makes you look like you're living in the Stone Ages? Takei points out to Arizona lawmakers that, ummm, the state has some pretty loyal patrons/travelers/visitors who view this bill as a horrible slap in the face:
This bill also saddens me deeply. Brad and I have strong ties to Arizona. Brad was born in Phoenix, and we vacation in Show Low. We have close friends and relatives in the state and spend weeks there annually. We even attended the Fourth of July Parade in Show Low in 2012, looking like a pair of Arizona ranchers.
The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear.
Takei goes on to remind governing officials in Arizona exactly what's at stake here for them. Because appealing to their rational side is obviously out of the question:
So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don't deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.
And maybe you just never learn. In 1989, you voted down recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday, and as a result, conventions and tourists boycotted the state, and the NFL moved the Superbowl to Pasadena. That was a $500 million mistake.
So if our appeals to equality, fairness, and our basic right to live in a civil society without doors being slammed in our face for being who we are don't move you, I'll bet a big hit to your pocketbook and state coffers will.
PREACH, GEORGE. PREACH!
Image via Rocco's Facebook and Getty Images.