Freedoms and Phobias

Freedom and Phobias

The Arizona legislature has once again thrust our state into the midst of a nationwide controversy. The have passed SB 1062, which would protect businesses from being sued for refusing services to individuals if that action is based on religious beliefs. Critics call it a license to discriminate against gays. In reality it’s more complicated than that, which is why I have mixed feelings about the law.

On one hand, I have many gay and lesbian friends and I personally find anti-gay bigotry to be stupid and offensive. In my opinion, the idea that homosexuality is a sin rather than a biological condition is 100% wrong. There are other rules in the holy books that modern people choose to ignore (how many people shun clothing made from multiple fabrics?) It’s about time this one becomes one of those.

On the other hand, as a libertarian I am opposed to anti-discrimination laws of any kind. Why?

  1. They’re unnecessary. The quest for profit gives businesses an incentive NOT to discriminate, which is why southern states passed Jim Crow laws to force them to do so.
  2. They’re unenforceable. Nobody can look into the heart of a business owner or employer. They can choose not to hire a person, drag their feet on a rental contract, or make certain customers feel unwelcome, all of which achieve the same discriminatory effect.
  3. They have unintended consequences. These laws allow members of protected minority groups to file frivolous lawsuits based on real or imagined offenses. Doubtless this is only done by a few bad apples, but one malcontent with an agenda can cause a business lots of trouble. Thus businesses are discouraged from dealing with the very people the law is supposed to protect.
  4. They could promote a violent backlash. Why antagonize a tiny minority of bigots, who might be inclined to see themselves as victims?

Despite these facts, I feel that enacting SB 1062 would be a mistake. It would be largely symbolic, given that gays and lesbians aren’t currently protected in Arizona at present. Some people might see it as an endorsement of discrimination by the state, rather than a more appropriate stance of complete neutrality.It would antagonize national public opinion needlessly, possibly giving rise to boycotts of the state. Furthermore, it fails to address the real issue, which is judicial activism, in which judges whose proper role is to interpret the law take it upon themselves to write the law. Despite the fact that activist judges sometimes further causes I support, such as marriage equality, they can just as easily do things I find odious, such as forcing governments to spend money on favored groups.

C’mon, Jan, let’s have a veto.


Presenting “Out Loud”

After a three month hiatus, it’s high time I return to my blog, though this entry will be a relatively short one. In early November I became quite busy with my writing projects, which turned out to be much more demanding then I expected. All my marketing activities ground to a halt, though I now have something important to promote, which I’ll get to shortly.


First of all, I was attempting to meet my personal goal of finishing my second novel, Fidelio’s Automata, by the end of 2013. Although I made a valiant effort at editing and cleaning up the draft manuscript, I was forced to set it aside. I’m recently resumed that project and hope to be done by the end of this month. I’ll keep you posted.


My second, more urgent project is a theatrical production, which is called OUT LOUD! Stories from the Gayborhood. The show boasts five contributors of different short works, including three scenes by myself and my girlfriend/collaborator, Arlys Holloway. The latter are excerpts from our work in progress, a musical comedy about on-line dating called One Good Man. When I took up writing a few years ago, I never expected it to go in that direction. Frankly, if I’d have realized how challenging writing a musical would be, I probably would not have attempted it. (By the way, many thanks to JR McAlexander with his invaluable assistance with the music.) Despite several weeks of chronic sleep deprivation, it’s been an enjoyable and educational experience.


Now, after two years of preparation, OUT LOUD! is finally coming to the stage, with seven talented local actors playing over twenty roles. Besides our own musical numbers, the show features works of fantasy, young romance, and drama, by playwrights Ben Gill, B.D. Heywood and Lori Hicks. Like us, they’re newcomers to writing for the theater, and we owe a debt of gratitude to our facilitator, mentor and director, Richard Schultz. (Shameless plug: Gill, Heywood, Hicks and I all have novels published on Amazon.)


The title makes obvious the show’s lesbian/gay theme, and in fact, it is a benefit for the One Voice LGBT Community Center in Phoenix. All the works have gay/lesbian characters and/or writers. Though Arlys and I have a more conventional orientation, we are proud to support the cause of equality for the LGBT community. Though gays and lesbians have achieved much in recent years, there has recently been a resurgence in bigotry around the world, especially in the Middle East and in Putin’s Russia. Vladimir would no doubt consider our show “homosexual propaganda,” which is his standard smear on anyone who opposes his agenda of making gays into scapegoats for his country’s problems. (Though I do appreciate his opposition to the neocons’ Syria war plans – but that’s another topic.)


For those who would rather support Truth, Justice and the American Way, showings of OUT LOUD! will be February 6, 7, and 8th at the Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 North 3rd Street at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10 and $25; to buy in advance, call 602-254-3100, and for more information, Warning: these works have mature subject matter, so it’s not for children or for the easily offended. We invite those of a more eclectic bent to join us for an enjoyable evening of original theater by local Arizona writers.