The first bill passed this year by the Arizona legislature was a sweeping permission allowing anyone claiming a deeply-felt religious reason to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in their normal businesses. A growing tattoo of opposition to this nonsense came from a host of relatively-conservative voices, even Mitt Romney joined the chorus, as well as the business community. Arizona governor Jan Brewer, not consistently known as the voice of reason, stood up and vetoed the bill yesterday. Smart, this didn’t eliminate the scar but should definitely limit the damage to Arizona’s reputation and certainly will reduce the economic impact.
If I Were King, the rules on such discrimination would be simple: If you want to express your religious opinions by discriminating in your treatment of employees and clients it would be absolutely allowed. You’d just immediately lose the right to have employees and clients of any sort. Don’t want to make cakes for gay weddings? Fine, immediatley lose your license to make cakes for the public. Don’t want to cover your employees’ reproductive health care? Fine, lose your right to deduct the cost of health care for any employees. There would also be no stays during appeals, your doors would just have to be closed until you grew up or won a legal appeal.