George Takei’s Defiant Response to Arizona as State Passes the ‘Turn Away the Gays’ Bill


Openly gay former Star Trek and Heroes actor, and social media behemoth George Takei has written an open letter to Arizona legislators who have passed a law allowing businesses the right to refuse to serve people on the basis of their presumed sexuality.

George Takei has millions of social media followers.

George Takei has millions of social media followers.

This, from CNN, reporting on the passing of the bill last night:

The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.

“I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”

The law is designed to by pass citizen’s constitutional right to equal provision of good and services, guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act – which has protected LGBT people from such discrimination in recent cases such as that of the bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a same sex marriage.

Condemnation of the regressive and discriminatory law which has been likened to the Jim Crow laws that segregated non-whites from whites in public spaces in the 1950′s – when African Americans were barred from ‘white’ stores, libraries, schools, parks, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and other spaces.

George Takei, who has over 6 million Facebook followers, and more than a million twitter followers, is now turning his vast social media influence on the State of Arizona.  In a furious letter which condemns the bigoted bill, Takei promises a full programme of boycott actions against the State and it’s businesses if the law is implemented. Here is the letter in full.

Dear Arizona,

Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.” This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us.

Kansas tried to pass a similar law, but had the good sense to not let it come up for a vote. The quashing came only after the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other traditional conservative groups came out strongly against the bill.

But not you, Arizona. You’re willing to ostracize and marginalize LGBT people to score political points with the extreme right of the Republican Party. You say this bill protects “religious freedom,” but no one is fooled. When I was younger, people used “God’s Will” as a reason to keep the races separate, too. Make no mistake, this is the new segregation, yours is a Jim Crow law, and you are about to make yourself ground zero.

This bill also saddens me deeply. Brad and I have strong ties to Arizona. Brad was born in Phoenix, and we vacation in Show Low. We have close friends and relatives in the state and spend weeks there annually. We even attended the Fourth of July Parade in Show Low in 2012, looking like a pair of Arizona ranchers.

The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear.

So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.

And maybe you just never learn. In 1989, you voted down recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday, and as a result, conventions and tourists boycotted the state, and the NFL moved the Superbowl to Pasadena. That was a $500 million mistake.

So if our appeals to equality, fairness, and our basic right to live in a civil society without doors being slammed in our face for being who we are don’t move you, I’ll bet a big hit to your pocketbook and state coffers will.

George Takei

We salute the actions of Takei and all those inside and outside of Arizona fighting this awful law.  In the words of Desmond Tutu:  “If you are silent neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

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About The Mental Meddler

A quirky, opinionated gay guy who offends both liberal and conservatives.

Posted on February 23, 2014, in LGBT Equality, News & Politics, Political and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on George Takei’s Defiant Response to Arizona as State Passes the ‘Turn Away the Gays’ Bill.

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