By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com February 26 2014 5:34 PM ET
Some Fox News commentators have joined the chorus condemning Arizona’s pending antigay “license to discriminate” law — after some of their colleagues asserted that businesses should have the right to turn away LGBT customers.
Tuesday on Fox’s America’s Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum, Fox contributor Juan Williams, and Andrea Tantaros (who cohosts The Five on the network) all denounced the Arizona legislation, which would give businesses and individuals the right to refuse service to certain customers, if serving them would violate the merchant’s religious beliefs. The bill has been passed by both the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives, and awaits Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to sign it, veto it, or let it become law without her signature.
“I don’t know why you would want to bring Jim Crow laws back to the forefront for homosexuals,” Tantaros said, referring to laws once used to enforce racial segregation.
Watchdog group Media Matters notes, “Fox’s condemnation of Arizona’s anti-gay measure is extremely surprising given the network’s prior efforts to champion and celebrate Christian business owners who refused service to gay customers.” Among these efforts, reports Media Matters:
- In August, discussing a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling that a photographer breached that state’s nondiscrimination law by declining to photograph a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony, Kelly File host Megyn Kelly wondered “how far could this go,” saying it could lead to the Roman Catholic Church having to perform same-sex weddings.
- In September, Gretchen Carlson, then cohost of Fox & Friends, wondered if the U.S. could remain “a free country” if business owners had to put their religious beliefs aside and serve LGBT people.
- In December, Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the state’s antidiscrimination law by refusing service to a gay couple, appeared in a Fox & Friends segment that featured the graphic “The Death of Free Enterprise.”
- Just today, Fox talker Tucker Carlson, appearing on America’s Newsroom, said requiring businesses to serve all customers without discrimination is “fascism.” “If you want to have a gay wedding, fine, go ahead,” he said. If I don’t want to bake you a cake for your gay wedding, that’s OK too. Or should be. That's called tolerance. But when you try and force me to bake a cake for your gay wedding and threaten me with prison if I don’t, that’s called fascism.” Megyn Kelly, in a switch from her earlier comments, noted that the Arizona legislation is broader than that. She “seized on the ‘potentially dangerous’ implications of the bill, pointing out that it could allow a doctor to refuse medical treatment to a gay person,” Media Matters reports.
Below, courtesy of Media Matters, video of Fox commentators both promoting and condemning such laws.