The Jim Crow impulse

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(NNPA)—Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after nearly a week of reading the political tea leaves, vetoed a bill Feb. 27 from her state’s GOP-controlled legislature that its advocates stated had the innocuous purpose of shoring up protections for the “free exercise of religion.”

In fact, the legislation would have revived for use against gays and lesbians one of the oldest planks of the centuries-long state-sponsored bigotry against Black Americans: religion. Or, perhaps, it’s more correct to characterize it as religious mumbo-jumbo.

The bill, SB1062, would have amended Arizona’s constitution, to allow any individual, business owner, association, corporation, partnership or church to discriminate against gays and lesbians if they claimed they were following a “sincerely held” religious belief.

In fact, current state law does not provide protection for gays and lesbians against discrimination; so, the bill would have increased the legal advantages of those operating an enterprise in the public sphere who wanted to discriminate.

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