The Arizona state legislature may have passed the hateful anti-gay bill, SB 1062, but it wasn’t lawmakers who wrote it. The law flowed from the ‘pens’ of two fundamentalist Christian lobbying groups: the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Why Is Cathi Herrod suddenly media shy?
On Wednesday, protesters attempted to take their objections to the source. They intended to confront CAP president Cathi Herrod at the organization’s headquarters. Herrod was all over the media defending her hate bill when it appeared things were going to go her way. But the odious measure has rapidly lost almost all the support it began with as the state waits for Gov. Brewer to make a decision about whether to veto it.
Herrod’s love affair with the media appears to have come to an end. In spite of the wide advance publicity that Wednesday’s gathering received, and in spite of the presence of reporters from virtually every Arizona news outlet, Herrod didn’t come out and face the crowd. As a matter of fact, security officers closed in to deny access to the building, stopping the protesters at the door.
The protesters want “‘legislative terrorist’ to apologize for the damage done to Arizona.
The grassroots organization, Citizens for a Better Arizona, initiated the action. Spokesperson Beto Soto told reporters that the delegation was there to ask for an apology from Herrod for all the damage she has caused Arizona. He said:
If you follow the puppeteer’s strings, they go right to this building, and to one person — Cathi Herrod.
The group also wanted to ask Herrod to stop interfering with the state’s legislative process and stop huddling with lawmakers to formulate laws. CAP’s website proudly notes that 123 of its bills have been passed in the state since 1995. In addition, CAP killed an anti-bullying bill, SB 1462, last year for fear that it would protect gay kids. That measure passed in the Senate but foundered in the House. At the time, Senate Minority Leader David Schapira called Herrod a “legislative terrorist” and said:
Cathi Herrod, an unelected lobbyist, killed a bill that would protect all Arizona kids purely because of her intolerance of gay kids.
Herrod’s position wasn’t about religion; it was about mental illness–her own and the group she represents. That’s the continuing problem as she wages her vendetta of prejudice against the gay community. And yet, the woman is still on the scene this year, lobbing legislative hand grenades without a thought or care as to the damage inflicted on both the state and its residents.
The protesters want it to stop. They left behind two gifts for Cathi Herrod. The first gift was a group of signs taped to the front window of her building — which, incidentally CAP shares with the evangelical Phoenix Seminary — surprise, surprise! One sign said “Going Out Of Business — SB 1062″; a second listed corporate backers of equality, including Apple, PetSmart, and Delta Airlines, and four GOP legislators who are ‘puppets’ of CAP; the third sign was a copy of the letter they want Herrod to sign, apologizing to Arizona and pledging to stop her interference. The second gift they left was a promise to be back, tomorrow.
Fundamentalist Christian lobbyists are writing laws across the nation.
The protesters are intent on exposing the nasty underpinnings of the hate bill. The legislative plotting by fundamentalist organizations isn’t unique to Arizona. CNN’s Anderson Cooper confronted the larger problem on a “Keeping Them Honest” segment. Defenders of SB 1062 were all using the same language in the media, clips of which he aired. Then he compared the “meat” of the bill’s written language with one of Ohio’s, HB 376. Each of them have an “exercise of religion” clause that is virtually identical in wording to the other’s. Cooper says that a number of states across the country are passing laws with the same “legal genetic code” that is traceable to fundamentalist Christian organizations.
It’s easy to point the finger and laugh at Arizona. The state’s legislators are especially out of touch with the voters they supposedly represent, a majority of whom support marriage equality. But ‘supposedly’ is the key word. Watch out, America. Our statehouses are increasingly being owned by the religious right. Our laws are increasingly being molded to conform to their agenda in spite of what most of us believe.
We need to take a stand, not just in the Grand Canyon state, but across the nation.