Arnold Schwarzenegger, movie star and the former governor of California, has added his support to the ever growing list of celebrities and businesses over the LGBT rights issue. He claims he is ‘furious’ with the Republican Party, and believes they are ‘losing touch’ with voters. Mr. Schwarzenegger states that laws such as the Religious Freedom bill “fly in the face of equality and freedom.”
Critics say the law impacts the rights of LGBT individuals because it allows a business to refuse service to someone if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Indiana (the state most talked about for their decision to implement the Religious Freedom bill) and Arkansas have since added language to the bill to protect the rights of LGBT individuals because of outside pressure, particularly from business.
The former governor of California has a long history with the Republican Party, first registering Republican the moment he became a US citizen back in 1983. “As an American, I’m incredibly concerned about what happened in Indiana this week and the threat of similar laws being passed in other states.” Arnold writes in his opinions column over at the Washington Post, “As a Republican, I’m furious.”
Arnold is quick to point out that many Republicans are in favour of LGBT rights and keeps his message on point. “[This] is for Republicans who choose the politics of division over policies that improve the lives of all of us. It is for Republicans who have decided to neglect the next generation of voters. It is for Republicans who are fighting for laws that fly in the face of equality and freedom”
Arnold believes both the Republican Party and United States as a whole should instead work towards tackling financial, pollution and other key issues. “If we want our party to grow and last, we must be focused on real solutions to problems Americans are facing.”
“We could start with infrastructure. Traffic costs our drivers over $100 billion annually. Airport delays cost another $22 billion. Or we could get to work on education. If graduation rates don’t increase, we will have a shortage of 5 million workers by 2020 — not because we lack the manpower, but because the jobs will require education that our students aren’t receiving. We could clean up our air: MIT researchers found that pollution kills more than 200,000 Americans every year — more than traffic accidents, homicides, suicides and our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. There are so many real problems that need solving.”
“In California, the GOP (the Republican Party) has seen the danger of focusing on the wrong issues. In 2007, Republicans made up nearly 35 percent of our registered voters. By 2009, our share dropped to 31 percent, and today, it is a measly 28 percent. That sharp drop started just after the divisive battle over Proposition 8. Maybe that’s a coincidence, but there is no question that our party is losing touch with our voters, especially with the younger ones who are growing the registration rolls,” Arnold continues.
Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition to make gay marriage illegal within the state of California and passed in November 2008 with a close vote, but was declared null by the federal courts in 2010. However, because so many political figures in the Republican Party had supported Prop 8 (as it was informally known) it damaged the party’s reputation amongst more liberal voters.
“I know what you’re thinking: “You Californians are eccentric. My state is different. That’s not going to happen here.” You’re wrong. All you have to do is look at the response to Indiana’s law on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or pretty much wherever young people congregate and discuss what is important to them.”
“Both sides of the Indiana debate used Twitter to voice their support, and the result couldn’t be clearer. According to Zignal Labs, as of Wednesday night, #StandWithIndiana had been tweeted 5,571 times. Meanwhile, #BoycottIndiana was tweeted 430,728 times.”
“Take a quick look at Reddit’s r/news top stories for the week — there have been more than 15,000 comments on this issue, overwhelmingly in opposition to the Indiana law.”
A plethora of businesses have threatened to boycott Indiana over the Religious Freedom bill, and the state is currently estimated to be set to lose over $256 million (and the number is still rising) over the next six years according to the Center for American Progress. It remains to be seen what businesses will do now the state (among others) have softened the wording of their bills.
“Polls show that laws like this are not supported by independents, women, minorities or Americans between 18 and 29. Nor are they supported by big business, as evidenced by NASCAR, the NBA and Wal-Mart’s public, vocal opposition.”
“Those businesses are doing the right thing, but they have also done the math. As a party, we need to take a similarly realistic look. Indiana’s politicians clearly didn’t expect the response the law received, but it is heartening to see that they’ve taken steps in the right direction, just as it is reassuring to see that Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas listened to the outrage over Indiana and decided to veto a similar law. But I want to be absolutely certain that all of my fellow Republicans everywhere got the message. What happened in Indiana should be a teachable moment for us.”