Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I went to the protest with high hopes. When I moved to Tempe, Arizona in 1988 the Circle K convenience store chain announced that they were going to fire all homosexuals- to keep their insurance costs down because in their eyes, all homosexuals were diseased. Even though they quickly changed their mind, it was still a shocking wake up call.

At Arizona State University I joined the LGBT group and in the second year was its president. This was in the pre-internet days and the group was small, many members fearful of being found out. I went and spoke at psychology classes, where one male student asked me how gay men could have anal sex- "The butt is for excretion." I pointed out that the penis was used for sex and for urination. He was so stupid that he did not see the connection. There were other incidents- being called a sodomite by the student government vice president, having to confront the student newspaper editor about the paper's publishing the names, addresses, and majors of men caught having sex in bathrooms (he quickly backed down when I threatened a law suit).

I moved to Tucson and the Center for Arizona Policy was formed. The leader of the group, Cathi Herrod, is a fanatical fundamentalist who hates gay people. There is a Youtube video in which she says she was commanded by god to fight things like gay rights. When Tucson decided to offer joint library cards to same sex couples, she attempted to get the State Legislature to ban that. It was too close to same sex marriage in her beady eyes.

Efforts to have a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage and civil unions failed in 2006. In 2008, it passed after the Catholic Knights of Columbus and the Mormon Church blanketed the state with advertisements implying that gay folks were going to get the children of straight families.

It was very disheartening, to say the least when that passed. And in the years since I have celebrated as each new state legalized same sex marriage.

Last year a half hearted measure to put the marriage amendment on the ballot took place. I collected about 150 signatures, but in the end the organizers gave up- it was very disorganized.

This was supposed to be a video, but it turned into a slide show instead. You can see the moment the veto was announced.

And then the Center for Arizona Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom got the Republicans to pass SB 1062. Government-sanctioned discrimination directed toward LGBT citizens and visitors. All of the testimony pointedly mentioned photographers, florists, and bakers who did not want to serve same sex couples. But after the bill's purpose became known, the backers and supporters all started lying and claiming it was not anti-gay, but defending "sincerely held religious beliefs." (Exactly how does the government determine whether a belief is sincere?).

The negative publicity brought to the State of Arizona has been humiliating. I have been very depressed, unable to focus my attention. Stressful, I found myself eating chocolate to medicate myself, lol.

And then today I drove by the protest on the way home, and then told my mother I was going back. Perhaps 75 to 100 people were assembled, mostly young people. One elderly woman, I stood next to a nurse and a vet tech. Nearby was a young couple with two kids, the cute father carrying a child with the sign "Baby Against Hate." When Jan Brewer announced that she had vetoed the bill, we all cheered.

The Center for Arizona Policy will never be able to get another anti-gay bill passed in Arizona. Cathi Herrod's power is slipping away. I sent her an email- ending it with HA HA HA. Yes, immature, but the knowledge that she knows that she is on the other side of history makes me so fucking happy.

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