Dear Jan Brewer,

veto SB 1062    

I’m writing this open letter to you to urge you to veto SB 1062.

     As a Republican who flirts with the libertarian end of the political spectrum, I naturally believe that that government is best which governs least. I believe that free enterprise (and therefore society) flourishes best when the government limits itself to enforcing contracts, providing for the national defense, and protecting the property of a country’s citizens.

     SB 1062, a piece of legislation that has been recently passed by both of Arizona’s state houses and awaits your signature to become law, will permit owners of businesses to deny selling goods or services to gay couples for the sake of preserving “religious freedom.”

     Although this law masquerades as one that protects business owners and religious freedom, it is, of course, an attack on gay Americans. I am in favor of legislation that protects business owners, but SB 1062 is about something else. SB 1062 is intended to deny gay couples their civil rights, and civil rights are something no government can take away.

     Consider a number, the number 3, perhaps. There is nothing you, Jan Brewer, can do to damage the number three or make it mean something besides what it does. The number 3 does not require your permission to exist. Civil rights are like that. Libertarians and other defenders of freedom believe that a human being possesses certain rights simply by virtue of being human, and that governments who try to limit these rights are in denial of this fact. I know you would not fail to veto legislation that allowed business owners to deny services to African-Americans, or women. In this country most people are coming around to the fact that women and African-Americans should have the same civil rights as white men. People are gradually waking up to the fact that gay people, too, have these rights.

     Being gay is no more a choice than being black or being female is a choice. Are we going to have stores with signs saying “Only Straight People Welcome?” Do you think that the Supreme Court would fail to right this wrong? Of course not. But you know all this.

     I am not writing to you to lecture you about civil rights. My soapbox isn’t sturdy enough. What I am writing to you about is the immense damage that this law would do to the already wounded Republican Party if you fail to veto it.

     There is a civil war going on in the Republican Party. In one corner is the Karl Rove-approved establishment. In the other corner are the upstart Tea-Party and conservative populists. Both sides are severely flawed. The Rovians are lukewarm Democrats in disguise. The Tea-Partiers are too obsessed with race, gender, and sexual orientation. It’s a shame, because they are so right about so many other things.

     Legislation that pretends to protect business and religion but tries to deny people their civil rights – and I say “tries” because no government can strip a person of their natural rights – is on the wrong side of history, and a political party that advocates legislation such as this is doomed to be marginalized by history regardless of how right it is about the NSA, Obamacare, and the dangers of centralized government.

     Today Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans, denounced the bill. They know that such legislation isn’t just unfair to gay couples – it spells doom for the Republican Party.

     If this bill becomes law, opponents of the Republican Party will have a field day attacking us as narrow-minded bigots. And they will be right. We should be focussed on the economy, on government surveillance, on privacy, on drones, on Obamacare, on jobs, on immigration, on education, nay on anything except continuing to alienate prospective Republican voters, especially young voters, by championing legislation that seeks to limit the civil rights of certain Americans due to their sexual orientation.

     If Republicans spent half as much time figuring out how to fix the economy as they do wasting time on frivolous stupidity like SB 1062, Mitt Romney would be president.

     Governor, please veto SB 1062. It’s the right thing to do for America, and the right thing to do for the future of the GOP. If you allow this to become law, you and the party you represent will become a laughingstock through the November midterms, which we will lose.

      Thank you for reading my letter.


      Thomas Davis

      Conservative columnist, Newsslinger