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How “Gay Power” Rose Up Like A Phoenix And Defeated Arizona’s Right To Hate SB-1062

Gay Power

As we all know by now last night Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Bill SB 1062 that would have allowed businesses and in some cases individuals to use bigotry through “religion” to deny service to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender customers

“I call them as I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd,” Brewer said, criticizing what she described as a “broadly worded” bill that “could result in unintended and negative consequences”

“To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes,” she said. “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.

“Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.”

The controversial measure faced a barrage of opposition from large corporations and athletic organizations, including Delta Air Lines, the Super Bowl host committee and Major League Baseball and all this happened because the LGBT community and its straight allies spoke out loudly and clearly against this his heinous bill which was nothing but a thinly disguised throwback to Jim Crow and was nothing more than a legal way to discriminate against LGBT individuals.

But we rose up together and fought back.

This was a major win for the LGBT community and one that was brought about the people itself and not by the LGBT organizations who claim that they represent us. “Gay Inc” as they are called said barely a word over Arizona’s hateful bill and only did after being openly criticized and called out for being silent.  But amazingly once Jan Brewer vetoed the measure a flurry of press releases flew fast and furious from the usual suspects. Within 10 minutes of the announcement The Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and the Task Force had already sent out releases applauding Brewers move despite the fact that they didn’t have a damn thing to do it and neglecting to mention the people who did and that would be all of us.

This victory belongs to the community at large and our LGBT allies. As soon as the Arizona Senate passed the hateful bill we jumped into action. We made phone calls, sent emails and took to social media. We reached out to businesses, travel agencies, and the mainstream media TOGETHER like in the olden days of gay activism and we fought SB 1062 side by side instead of depending on others lead the fight for us. We dropped the LGBT compartmentalization and were all “gay” once again. There were no special groups and personal issues getting in the way. SB 1062 affected all of us and together we stood side by side and fought it and we won.

Arizona’s SB 1062 has proven one thing. That by taking the lead and fighting together we can and will win.

We should do it more often.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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