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George Takei: Boycott Arizona if governor signs Gay Jim Crow law

By George Chidi
Saturday, February 22, 2014 17:02 EDT
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George Takei fired a virtual photon torpedo Friday at Arizona in a scathing letter addressing legislative passage of an anti LGBT law allowing for discrimination in services.

The “Razing Arizona” letter published on Takei’s blog calls for the LGBT community to boycott the state if it enacts the law, which passed the state House of Representatives on Thursday by a 33-27 vote, largely along party lines.

“This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines discrimination into the law,” Takei wrote. “Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us. … 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.”

Takei notes in his letter that his husband Brad Altman and he have strong ties to Arizona. Altman was born in Phoenix, and the couple vacation in Show Low, Takei wrote.

Governor Jan Brewer’s signature stands between the bill and its enactment. Brewer has yet to comment on her intentions.

If Brewer signs the bill, “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,” Takei wrote. “Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.”

Takei’s letter comes at the same time as other outcry from around Arizona, asking Brewer to refrain. The Greater Phoenix Economic Council sent a letter Friday as well, urging Brewer to veto the bill. “The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes. The statutory changes within Senate Bill 1062 will upset the current balance between the right of business owners to manage their businesses, and the right of employees to refuse on religious grounds to follow company policy or management directions.”

Four companies working with the Arizona Commerce Authority have told the council that they will look to locate elsewhere if this legislation is signed, the council’s letter states. The authors also note that the law — and inevitable boycotts — threaten economic development. After Arizona snubbed celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr.’s holiday, the NFL moved a scheduled Super Bowl from Arizona to California, costing the state $500 million in spending.

Super Bowl XLIX is slated for the University of Phoenix in Glendale in 2015.

 
 
 
 
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