Look around the world, and it’s all too easy to see homophobia gone wild. In Russia, vigilantes beat LGBT people in broad daylight, with the blessing of a government laws that forbid criminalize gay “propaganda.” Uganda President Yoweri Museveni is promising to sign a bill into law that would sentence gay people to lifetime imprisonment. Following passage of a law that makes homosexuality an offense punishable by 14 years in prison, Nigerian mobs have taken to beating gay men on the grounds that they are “cleansing the community”
And here in the U.S., we have Arizona.
Governor Jan Brewer is considering signing a law that would allow people to discriminate at will against LGBT people on the grounds of “religious liberty.” The bill is a response to a 2012 incident, in which a court allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to shoot photos at their commitment ceremony,
Brewer hasn’t indicated if she will sign the measure, passed almost entirely by Republicans, but she has shown herself to be antagonistic to LGBT rights. She fought a court ruling that overturned the state’s ban on domestic partnership benefits for Arizona employees and signed an antigay adoption bill into law.
Perhaps Brewer aspires to become the Putin of the mesas. If so, she’s not getting support from anyone outside of her party’s right wing. Business leaders are aghast at the measure, and the Arizona Republic condemned it as “a do-it-yourself black eye that would tag Arizona as a champion of anachronistic views of sexual orientation.”
Of course, the religious right is behind the attacks on LGBT rights in Arizona and abroad. The Arizona bill is sponsored by the Center for Arizona Rights, which serves as a virtual arm of the conservative legislature. Like-minded right wingers, like Scott Lively, have been sowing the seeds of hatred overseas for years.
Will Brewer be willing to risk the reputation of her state? She already did once, by supporting a law that allowed police to stop anyone they thought might be an illegal immigrant. That’s the unfortunate thing about the right. Its hatred is rarely confined to a single group.