Politics & Policy

Pressure Builds for Brewer to Veto Arizona Decline-to-Serve Bill

Oh, My! Influential Republicans join Takei in calling for veto.

Pressure on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto a controversial religious-freedom bill isn’t just coming from local groups and lawmakers in her state, but also from the Starship Enterprise.

George Takei, the Star Trek actor-turned-gay-rights-activist, has threatened to launch a statewide boycott of the Grand Canyon State if Brewer approves what he calls the “turn away the gay” bill. Takei is being joined in his call for a veto by both of the state’s U.S. senators, politicians around the country, and even three GOP state senators who voted for the bill.#ad#

Senate Bill 1062 would allow professionals to decline to provide service to events that violate their religious beliefs. Critics say the bill effectively legalizes discrimination against gay Arizonans. Supporters argue the bill is meant to prevent, for example, photographers or bakers from taking part in a same-sex wedding if they have religious objections to it.

Takei thinks the “repugnant bill” goes too far. “You’re willing to ostracize and marginalize LGBT people to score political points with the extreme right of the Republican Party,” he said in a letter over the weekend. He also rejects the claim that the law is meant to protect people’s religious convictions, instead asserting that the bill is a “Jim Crow law.”

If Brewer signs the bill, Takei, who vacations in the state where his husband is from, will urge everybody “from large corporations to small families on vacation” to avoid doing business in the state, “because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.”

Takei — who in addition to his long-running role as Star Trek’s Lt. Sulu played “Maj. Kato” in a 1976 episode of Baa Baa Black Sheep and “First Ancestor” in Disney’s Mulan — also floated the idea of relocating the 2015 Super Bowl out of the state.

Moving the Super Bowl isn’t only being championed by Takei. Delaware governor Jack Markell told MSNBC that the NFL “should be looking to move the Super Bowl out of that state” if the bill becomes law.

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council also worries that the bill will have a “profound negative” overall economic impact on the state, including on Arizona’s hosting of the big game next year. Arizona faced similar protests in 2010 over SB 1070, a controversial immigration bill, which also led to boycotts of the state’s businesses and reportedly hurt the state economically. Business groups worry the potential boycotts will hurt even more.

Brewer’s fellow Republicans in the state aren’t giving the bill much support either. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain have called on her to veto the bill, and three state senators who supported the legislation just last week want Brewer to veto it. Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs of Phoenix, Senator Bob Worsley of Mesa, and Senator Steve Pierce of Prescott, now say the bill was passed too quickly and would hurt the state.

Brewer, who rejected a similar bill last year, hasn’t indicated one way or the other what she’ll do this time around. “I have not been in town currently,” she told CNN from the annual governors meeting in Washington, D.C. “I’ve been reading about it on the internet. It’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it.”

Brewer has until Friday to sign the bill.

— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More