Gov. Jan Brewer may have—after enough time had passed to show that it was a tough call to make—vetoed the Arizona bill allowing businesses to discriminate against any customers they disliked for religious reasons, but that doesn't mean this fight is over. Bills expanding the right to discriminate in the name of religious freedom are popping up all over the place. Another dozen states are considering or have considered similar bills.
Mississippi may have just removed discriminatory provisions from a bill, but a Missouri discrimination bill was introduced just this week, even as the fight was raging in Arizona. A group in Oregon is trying to get a similar measure on November's ballot in an effort that would have been much easier to disguise as a simple religious freedom move if the legislative pushes in Arizona and Kansas hadn't drawn so much attention. Voters should now be much more aware of what the initiative is actually about.
It's great that these bills are being vetoed or withdrawn or changed in response to public outrage. But the fact that they've been introduced in so many states, and are still being pushed in some even now that the public knows what's going on, shows how important the right to discriminate is to the Republican Party as LGBT rights gain ground in so many other ways. And of course, in a majority of states it is still entirely legal to fire or refuse to hire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, with John Boehner refusing to allow a House vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Marriage equality may be gaining ground more quickly than we could have dreamed, but there are so many other basic rights we still have to fight to protect.