Magazine Features in this issue:
The backlash has begun. Arizona passed an immigration law requiring
police to check the nationality of people they suspect are in the
country illegally, and people around the country urged a boycott of the
Companies canceled conventions, cities banned official travel,
and the hometown basketball team, the Phoenix Suns, expressed its
opposition by wearing jerseys that read "Los Suns." People across the
country joined demonstrations wearing T-shirts that read "Todos somos
Arizona," or "We are all Arizona."
Gays have joined the chorus of voices expressing outrage about
the legislation. Although it does not touch on gay issues, at least not
overtly, the new law has drawn criticism from a wide range of gay
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national gay legal
group, was among the first to harshly criticize the law. Executive
director Kevin Cathcart said the law was just another form of bias.
"As we pursue our lawsuit against the state of Arizona for its
elimination of health insurance benefits for the partners of its
lesbian and gay employees, we condemn the state government's further
manifestation of bias in its new immigration law," said Cathcart.
Cathcart said the law would further marginalize gay immigrants.
"LGBT undocumented immigrants are among the most invisible of the
invisible," he said. "Many inhabit a double closet, afraid of
disclosing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and afraid
of disclosing that they are undocumented."
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force (NGLTF), also spoke out against the law.
"Arizona's new immigration law is draconian and inhumane," said
Carey. "It has no place on the books anywhere. The potential for racial
profiling, infringement of civil liberties, and violence and harassment
against individuals and their families just going about their daily
lives is enormous."
Carey acknowledged that reform is needed but said the Arizona law
strips people of their human rights.
"Our political leaders must work toward reform that is fair and
humane," she said. "This law is neither. It is a cruel, quick fix that
demeans our country's values of freedom, justice and equality."
NGLTF has drawn criticism in the past for addressing non-gay
issues. When it spoke out against the Persian Gulf War in 1991, some
big-ticket donors pulled their support, saying that the organization
had strayed from its mission.
The opposite was true in 2002: when NGLTF did not speak out
against the US invasion of Iraq, it took a tongue-lashing from peace
The Arizona law requires police to check an individual's
immigration status whenever an officer suspects an individual may be in
the US illegally. The law has been dubbed, "Papers, please."
Latino singer Ricky Martin, who recently revealed that he is gay,
denounced the law at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.
"I want to send a warm greeting to all our Latin American friends
who live in the state of Arizona," he said. "The SB 1070 is a law that
doesn't make sense. You are not alone. We are with you. Stop
discrimination. Stop hate. Stop racism. Enough already. Long live love.
Long live peace."
On the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, openly gay officials
David Campos and Bevan Dufty are supporting a resolution calling for a
city boycott of Arizona.
"We in the LGBT community know what it's like to be the target of
discrimination, and we have to stand firmly in support of other groups
that are also impacted by discrimination," Campos, who introduced the
resolution, told the Bay Area Reporter. "I think that's the only way
all of us collectively are going to have full rights and full equality,
if we make a point of standing together when one group is targeted."
Campos called the law "horrendous" and said "people of good
conscience" need to "speak up."
Gay blogger Joe Jervis called the law "racist." Gay blogger Andy
Towle called the law "heinous" and noted that Gov Jan Brewer, who
signed the immigration law, also took away domestic-partner benefits
for state employees, which had been extended by the previous
Gay conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan summed things up
this way: "A society where one minority feels under surveillance is not
a truly free society. This is beneath America, in my view."
Under the rainbow. San Diego gays protest a new immigration law in
Arizona that some have called draconian.
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