George Takei Writes Open Letter Calling Arizona A ‘Jim Crow’ State For Passing SB1062

George Takei Appears On "The Morning Show"

 

On Friday, gay rights activist, acting legend and all-around awesome guy George Takei wrote an open letter to the state of Arizona regarding the passage of SB1062. The bill, ostensibly a ‘religious freedom bill’, is really nothing more than conservatives’ way of discriminating against gays and same-sex couples. Both chambers of the state’s Congress passed the bill along mostly party lines. Now, it is up to Republican Governor Jan Brewer to sign the bill into law. As of now, she has not made a move.

Below is Takei’s letter in its entirety:

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

 

Takei’s letter emphatically tells Arizona and its citizens that if this bill gets signed into law, then the economic and societal impacts will be felt for a very long time. In essence, Arizona will be legislating and upholding discrimination, much like the South did with its Jim Crow laws years back. His comparison to Jim Crow laws in his letter regarding SB1062 is not hyperbole. It is pretty much exactly the same.

Takei also mentioned Kansas in his letter and for good reason. That state had almost identical legislation on the books  ready for passage. It easily passed the state’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives and would have surely been signed into law by its far-right evangelical governor. However, after hearing from the state’s business organizations, among others, the Senate killed the bill, realizing the long-term damage it would do to the state and the national Republican Party.

It all rests with Brewer now. She is facing a lot of pressure from within her own party. Arizona’s two US Senators, both Republican, have urged her not to sign SB1062 into law. Much like in Kansas, numerous business organizations are asking her to veto it. Even a State Senator that voted for the measure, Steve Pierce, now realizes what this could do to the state and wants Brewer to veto the bill.

Brewer has five business days to either sign or veto the bill. If she does not do either, the Arizona legislature can then just allow the bill to become law without the Governor’s signature. That would be a very cowardly way for Brewer to act in this instance. She needs to make a decision and it has to be this week. So, what’s it going to be?

15 Replies to “George Takei Writes Open Letter Calling Arizona A ‘Jim Crow’ State For Passing SB1062”

  1. I know George will likely not read this directly, but I urge him to consider running for governor. He has a great potential platform to run from, namely that any future SB1062s would get vetoed by him as soon as they pass. And any governor who can sincerely promise me things like that is one I would vote for.

  2. It can’t be spelled out any plainer. If that bill is signed those people either can’t read or they don’t care about the states residents, other than a select few. I won’t feel sorry for them when businesses have to close and the loss of revenue hits them where it hurts.

  3. Mr. Takei, I’ve admired you since 1966, keep up the good work! Now to MY favorite pastime! calling the GOP exactly what it is! this is nazi Germany 1930’s revisited!! when will women and “LOG CABIN” republicans wake the hell up and realize the GOP HATES YOU??? BTW I encourage George Takei fans to find the Twight Zone episode called “THE ENCOUNTER” it was so powerful that it was banned for many years because of it’s racial content. it’s on YOU TUBE it’s a must see.

  4. The GOP who are speaking out against this bill aren’t doing so because they think it’s wrong. They’re speaking out because they know what it will do to Arizona’s economy.

    There’s a big difference between doing the wrong thing for the right reason, and doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

  5. The entire “religious freedom” issue is a grift, a con, a scam. A way to ignore and, in its essence, rescind some people’s civil rights by claiming, falsely, to be protecting other peoples’ religious rights.

    When asked “Master what is the Greatest Commandment in the law?” Christ replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”, and the 2nd is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40]

    There can be no doubt that SB1062 breaks that second commandment and if you are unwilling to keep what Christ told you was the foundation of his teaching and your professed faith, you are lying when you call yourself a Christian.

  6. Didn’t they when AZ refused to honor MLK Day as a federal holiday back in the early 80s? I do believe McCain was an instigator.

  7. Thanks so much for your wonderful post!

    Deep thanks for your suggestion of “The Encounter” which I just finished viewing on You tube. Beautiful! A wonderful reminder of Love and commitment. I will recommend it to my church group for movie night.

    Here’s the URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvtW7hYSrsc (Published on Jan 17, 2014)

    Five strangers with nothing in common are forced to come together at a remote roadside eatery because of a road closure. They place their orders with the diner’s omniscient owner, who seems to know everything about them… and claims he is Jesus.

    Blessings…

  8. George, switch over to the op’s chair! You can access shields, photon torpedos, and the phaser banks. Power them up! Lock on target and fire a full spread of photorps at full yield with a sweep of phaser fire! Get them George!!!

  9. Mr. Takei, take that same sentiment nationwide regarding healthcare, minimum wage, immigration, and most of all vote out the insane right-wing fringe.

  10. Mr Takei,

    I completely agree that SB1062 crosses the line, and any type of legislation that promotes hate or discrimination is barbaric. However I do not like being chastised by group association. I am an Arizonan, and for the most part, am proud of it. However whenever a group, a community, or a state make stupid decisions or does something stupid, the entire group, community or state are blamed. I do not condone this legislation, it was not put up for voter approval and as such, should not pinned on the citizen’s of Arizona. As you are aware not all actions performed by the government meet with 100% approval of its constituents. That is why we have the right to vote and make changes to our powers that be whose actions do not follow our expectations. I for one will not be re-electing any of the current elected officials in the coming elections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.