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    Posted February 25, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Arizona's 'religious freedom' bill vetoed

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    Legalizing Discrimination


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Arizona native davemedeiros is opposed to the Arizona religious freedom bill, which he feels will legalize discrimination. His sister, he said, who is a lesbian, receives little or no respect from the state government. "My sister is a wonderful human being and was raised in the same manner I was – to treat all others with dignity and respect. Yet, that is something that intolerant citizens and an intolerant government do not give her back," he said. But he is also opposed to the bill because he thinks it is based on the assumption that everyone shares the same religion. He told us, "Now we are being told lawmakers are legalizing public discrimination and ultimately humiliation simply because of another person's religion. It's preposterous."
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    Outraged, upset, and quite troubled – those are some of the adjectives I could use to describe my feelings toward the new Arizona Legislature Bill that proposed outright discrimination toward gays and lesbians in Arizona. The new bill titled SB1062 gives business the ability to refuse service to anyone that claims to be gay or lesbian. There is no other way to put it – the passing of this bill legalizes discrimination.
    I am not religious and I am not atheist. I like to call myself agnostic, meaning I do not claim a faith, nor do I claim disbelief in a God. I have a wonderful and very Christian girlfriend with whom I have attended church many times. I am also tolerant of religions – to a point. I believe in the ideal of having the same freedoms for everyone. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom from oppression – are these not the very values upon which this country was founded? Well, apparently Arizona did not get the memo.
    Quite frankly, as a patron of any establishment, I do not care about the religion of the owner or its employees. I do not need to be force fed their views simply because they are free to express them. Guess what anti-gay folk? The gays you fear don’t care either. They aren’t in attendence to preach how being gay is the “way to go”, or that all people should be gay. They simply are trying to live their lives. They want to live their lives with the same freedoms as anyone else. Even though they may not share your religious beliefs, they are trying to be what YOUR God made them, right? After all, assuming your religion has a God, in your eyes it is all knowing, the only one, and therefore we must ALL come from the same God. Doesn't the bible teach to "Love thy neighbor as thyself"?
    The state of Arizona is led by right-wing politicians; the ones who all-too-eagerly forget that the United States was founded on a basis of freedom of religion. This has become somewhat of a problem when considering that these same politicians now attempt to force their religious bias upon the rest of the state. When did it become okay to publicly discriminate against another human being? If I understand correctly, the last time this was acceptable was back when slavery was legal in the U.S. But, guess what Arizona? Slavery was abolished in 1865. Yes, more than 100 years ago most of the country realized that discrimination was a terrible thing.
    Based upon what I know of only Christianity at least, sexism is very apparent in the bible. Therefore, if this bill allows a person to refuse service based on religious views, perhaps I could flat-out refuse services to women in my establishment. After all, there are thousands of ways to interpret the Bible. Or, perhaps I choose to adopt the religion of Pastafarianism, and all non-noodle based beings would be banned from my restaurant per my own discretion. (Pastafarianism is a real thing, look it up.) Perhaps I should take on an anti-Republican religion and ban any that see this law as constitutional. Really though, I believe I should have a say in my own religion because, well, how can a government tell me that my religion isn’t real? Isn’t that discrimination too?
    From my standpoint, I have a sister who is lesbian. She has been her entire life. We were the best of friends growing up and almost inseparable at times. She was terrified to tell me for fear I would judge her or not understand as I was about 10 when she came out. I told her “So? You like girls. That’s your choice, why would it bother me?”. My sister, is a beautiful human being. The only thing she has ever wanted for anyone that she has ever met is happiness. She goes far out of her way to help anyone that ever asks. We love her for that and for the bravery she has in simply being who she was meant to be. She has to be brave every day because of the very same intolerance that this bill perpetuates.
    Based on the new law, my government is telling me I cannot go have lunch with my sister at a bigot’s restaurant because they may not agree with my views. Does that same law give me the ability to turn them down for services at my establishment because my religion doesn’t like theirs? For that matter, who is to say who is gay and who isn’t? Are people going to be assigned an I.D. stating their sexual preference? In the end, doesn’t this all just propagate more hate and less tolerance?
    If this bill passes, it will join the ranks of SB1070 as a very questionable call by those who apparently "run" this state. It WILL lead to more boycotts of the state. Hopefully (if it passes), large venues like the SuperBowl will think twice about which state is a deserving host. It will diminish the little respect the country has left for the state. It will make me less proud of where I live. And it WILL legalize discrimination.

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