Opinion: Enough is enough: Boycott Arizona

February 26, 2014


Boycott Arizona.

Somebody design the T-shirts. Somebody ready the bumper stickers.

Boycott Arizona.

Gov. Jan Brewer has not said at this writing whether she will veto a bill passed by the state legislature that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay people on religious grounds. Maybe she’ll do the right thing. Maybe we should be ready in case she does not.

After all, this is the state that resisted the Martin Luther King holiday for six years. The one that outlawed ethnic studies classes. The one where state lawmakers tried to redefine U.S. citizenship to snub so-called “anchor babies.” The one where brown people are required to show their papers.

Maybe it’s time the rest of us said, Enough. Maybe we should boycott Arizona.

Or, we could boycott Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee, Oklahoma or Kansas where similar measures are or have been under consideration. Granted, such a law is unlikely to survive its first court challenge. Granted, too, these laws amount to little more than temper tantrums by last-ditch bigots who don’t realize history has passed them by as a Ferrari does a traffic cone. But perhaps there is something to be said for inflicting economic pain as a way of saying, Cut it out. Perhaps the right wing’s proud embrace of ignorance and intolerance has grown so toxic they demand to be confronted. Perhaps the forces of bigotry have held the floor long enough and it’s time those of us who value comity, concord and tolerance make our voices heard.

Boycott Arizona.

Don’t be fooled by pious babblespeak that claims these laws only protect the rights of religious people who object to homosexuality. No one seeks to compel any preacher to perform a same-sex marriage if doing so violates his conscience. But if that pastor works for a bakery during the week, it is none of his business whether the wedding cake he bakes is for John and Jan or John and Joe.

Remember, in 2007, when Muslim cabdrivers in Minneapolis-St. Paul argued for the right to refuse to carry passengers with alcohol because their faith frowns on booze? Then as now, the answer was simple: This is America. Your right to follow religious conscience ends at someone else’s right to receive public service in public places. Do your darn job. Or quit and give it to somebody who will.

Boycott Arizona.

Yeah, the Canyon is Grand, but once you’ve see one hole in the ground, you’ve seen them all.

Boycott Arizona.

The sun shines in California, too.

Boycott Arizona.

Walt Disney World is offering 30 percent off on rooms at select Disney resorts.

Boycott Arizona.

Sadly, this means you would also have to boycott Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria, Barrio Cafe and other conscientious Arizona businesses that have come out against this spiteful law. Unfortunately for them, they are stuck, geographically speaking, in a state of intolerance. Simple human decency demands we no longer countenance intolerance in silence.

Boycott Arizona.

And because people who oppose gay rights go absolutely bughouse when anyone suggests a parallel between this fight and the Civil Rights Movement, let us close by recalling something Martin Luther King once said.

Segregation, he told marchers in Montgomery, Ala., was on its deathbed and the only remaining question was “how costly the segregationists … will make the funeral.”

What was true of segregation then is true of homophobia now. And apparently homophobes are willing to make its funeral quite costly, indeed.

Fine, then. Let’s have at it. Haven’t you had enough of conservatives trying to repeal the 20th century? Who’s up for this?

Boycott Arizona.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.


Paul R Getto 4 years, 4 months ago

Good column, Sir. Legislation has consequences.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 4 months ago

Agree with Mr Pitts, boycott Arizona. Have never been to Grand Canyon, was planned for later this year. No longer, see enough hatred in Kansas,, why go on vacation to a state that is even more hate filled?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 4 months ago

The government of Arizona seems to be another hotbed of prejudice, bigotry and hatred silmilar to the Koch Regime Kansas State Government. I hope tjat tje gpvermer of the state has the fortitude to veto this blatantly bigoted legislation and follow the foute of civility and tolerance.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 4 months ago

I am not angry at the entire state of Arizona over this, so no, sorry, I am not going to boycott.

It sounds too much like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Jim Slade 4 years, 3 months ago

Really? So what harm comes to you if you did boycott Arizona?

John Middleton 4 years, 3 months ago

Boycott Arizona, Leonard. And also boycott Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma. And by all means, be sure to boycott Kansas. We will be better off without you.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes Leonard, Kansas is trying to get get rid of anyone who can actually think for themselves.

James Howlette 4 years, 3 months ago

Oh yes. The Kansas tourism industry will collapse without the five people who visit each year. This is a good plan.

Robin Jones 4 years, 3 months ago

Well said John. Never seen a more blatant racist.

John Middleton 4 years, 3 months ago

I agree with you, Robin. The more you read Pitts, the more you see him morphing into Farrakhan, Sharpton, Dyson and King III.

Bob Smith 4 years, 3 months ago

Raising Arizona is one of the funniest movies ever made.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 3 months ago

Sure the nut are going totally ballistic in AZ now. Governor just vetoed the latest religious bill. But that changes nothing for me, I still refuse to spend one single penny in AZ. Still far too many haters there. Hope NFL removes super bowl and any pro teams from there.

Terry Snell II 4 years, 3 months ago

So all Arizona people should be held liable. Thats the same as someone seeing your Kansas vehicle tag and labeling you a racist gay hater because we made national news last week. Our country is breaking at the seams. No one is ever happy unless they get everything and we can no longer have a debate with results. The Governor of Arizona was already deemed evil and people declaring boycotts. She spoke, what now! Talk Immigration, then she is racist. Vote pro second Amendment she is liable for the shooting of the Senator. Point made

Bob Smith 4 years, 3 months ago

The hyperbole is strong in this thread.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 3 months ago

Hooray! We can now all go to the Grand Canyon with a clear conscience! The Governor vetoed the bill.

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