The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

GOP torn between being gay-friendly, anti-gay legislation

By Mathew Shaw/se news editor

Alert the media! It turns out legalized discrimination is bad for business.

This fact became apparent amid the controversy over Arizona’s proposed Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed business owners to turn away patrons or deny services if doing so would conflict with their religious convictions.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed this bill Feb. 26.

Similar bills were proposed in Kansas, Indiana, Wyoming and Missouri, none of which passed. It is interesting to note that these are all GOP-controlled states.

Brewer herself is hardly gay-friendly either. In 2009, citing budget concerns, she signed a bill that redefined “dependent,” cutting domestic partner benefits from about 800 state employees, some of whom were same-sex partners. What would her reaction be if one told her the reason same-sex couples have to rely on these benefits in the first place is because the state will not let them get married? Crickets.

While the bill was being debated in the Arizona legislature, a media brouhaha ensued. Some said the bill was necessary to protect people’s religious liberties in the event same-sex marriage became legal. Others compared the bill to Jim Crow laws. One snarky Arizona pizzeria owner put up a sign outside his business that read, “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators.”

Several big-name companies expressed their opposition to the bill, including Apple, American Airlines and Yelp. Significantly, the NFL urged Brewer to veto the bill, which matters because the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in Arizona next year.

Seeking to underscore the idea that the GOP and big business go hand-in-hand like a horse and carriage, Brewer ultimately decided to veto the bill.

A 2010 study by Mercer, a human resources and financial services consulting firm, found that out of about 3,000 companies, 72 percent offered same-sex partner benefits.

Does it not logically follow that these companies might avoid states that they believe snub a portion of their workers and clients?

Taking all this into consideration, the writing on the wall is clear: anti-gay legislation makes for bad publicity and, ultimately, bad business.

So what is the GOP to do when they find themselves torn between two of their strongest bases, the social conservatives and business leaders? While pleasing one base might be nice, the GOP in the end might decide to go where the money is.

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