By Bill Beard
Politically it would seem that for the vast majority of folks in Arizona the signing of SB 1062 will lead to a lot of trouble. Every day that Governor Brewer waits to sign or veto this bill only prolongs the agony and entrenches all sides against each other. We still have an economy on shaky ground. Unfortunately the only winners in this will be attorneys for both sides that will rake in the big bucks. The other winner would appear to be the discrimination lobby consultants that will be able to squeeze out more dollars to muddy the water and further antagonize all sides.
Those ‘for’ the bill are well intentioned. The political wisdom of dragging the rest of us into this isn’t clear. The average outside observer could have seen this coming. In an attempt to secure Religious Freedom they have set things on a course where reputations will be damaged and leave the taxpayers hurting. The average guy and gal that earns a living related to tourism for business or pleasure will see smaller paychecks. I’m not exactly sure who would be against Religious Freedom but this approach seems doomed. A better alternative to alleviating the possibility of someone suing a business owner for discrimination because they don’t like gays or pick your cause du jour would have been a simple Tort Reform bill that allowed the marketplace to decide the wisdom of anyone denying anyone else the ability to do business. The court system does not need to be involved.
Politically this issue has gone beyond the intent of the supporters. At this point it will only be a loser for folks running for office this year. Forget any merits of the bill. If you have an R after your name you will have to address this in your campaign. Whether you run for Dog Catcher or Governor this issue will come up. Regardless of the real issues of your campaign you will need to take time to explain your position on the bill. Why you agree or disagree with the intent, the politics or the inevitable lawsuits. When the average citizen is more concerned with their personal economy your campaign will spend valuable time addressing this issue.
The average guy out there will not see this as a Religious Liberty issue. For them it will further separate them from their elected representatives. It will only add to the idea that the representatives just don’t get what’s going on in their lives. They struggle daily with paying bills, feeding the kids or trying to figure out where the money will come from to pay for the broken washing machine or car repair. They will get stuck with the bill for the attorneys, the bill for the loss of their representatives focus on keeping the economy moving forward and the bill for time defending what their leaders have done to their friends and family in the rest of the country. So much for of, by and for the people.