Many voices, one message: Gov. Jan Brewer, veto this bill.The Arizona Capitol Times:
Do it immediately. Do it with compassion and dignity. Do it for Arizona.
The wide diversity of those urging Brewer to veto SB 1062 reveals how bad it really is. Opponents come from the right and the left. From business, economic development, faith and civil liberties communities.
A trio of Arizona state senators urged Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a controversial “religious freedom” bill on Monday, just days after all three cast votes in favor of the proposal that opponents say will legalize discrimination. Sens. Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsley sent a letter to the governor explaining their “sincere intent” in voting for the bill to shield Arizonans’ religious liberties, but saying a swell of opposition to SB1062 had already caused a disastrous effect on the state.The New York Times:
There are 17 states where it is legal for same-sex couples to marry, and there is no evidence that the accelerating progress toward equality has compromised anyone’s freedom to worship or hold religious beliefs.Much more below the fold.
Unfortunately, that has not stopped religious and social conservatives from pressing lawmakers in various states to enact noxious measures to give businesses and individuals the broad right to deny services to same-sex couples in the name of protecting religious liberty. On Thursday, the Arizona Legislature became the first state to pass such a bill, leaving it to the state’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, to decide by Friday whether to sign it or veto it, as she plainly should do.
Adam Sewer at MSNC takes a bird's eye view of the movement to establish "religious freedom" laws to discrimate:
With the exception of a carefully worded potential ballot initiative in Oregon, conservative religious freedom proposals being considered by several states contain language that can be read as going much further than protecting the right of refusal associated with the solemnization or commemoration of a commitment between same-sex partners. Indeed, most of the proposed laws include language that could grant state approval to myriad forms of discrimination against people in same-sex relationships.A great LTE makes a great point:
If Arizona legislators think Senate Bill 1062 is such a great idea, they should add a requirement that any business that would seek protection under the law must post at the business location and on any written materials an SB 1062 statement that outlines their sincerely held religious belief, cites the source and lists any impact on services they provide.Owen Ullmann, USA Today:
This would allow all potential customers to make an informed decision about doing business with them. After all, if the belief is sincerely held, why would they want to keep it a secret until they are in court defending themselves against their discriminatory actions?
It would also allow those with contrary sincerely held beliefs, such as all men are created equal, to take their business elsewhere.
— Michael Cornelius, Phoenix
[A]nyone who cherishes our pluralistic society should be outraged that Arizona's Legislature has passed a bill that would grant businesses the right to cite religious beliefs as a justification for refusing to serve same-sex couples. These intolerant lawmakers must be nostalgic for Jim Crow laws. I'm curious how a business would even know which customers are gay. Would you have to sign a statement that you are heterosexual as a condition to being served? If two women are holding hands, does that make them a same-sex couple, or are they just sisters? If two men kiss in a store, are they gay or…maybe, just French?Elizabeth Stoker at The Week:
And if religious beliefs are a justification for refusing gay couples, shouldn't Arizona extend the principle to all religious beliefs? Devout Muslims should have the right to refuse service to women who are not covered in burqas. Christian Scientists should have the right to deny service to doctors and nurses or anyone who has health insurance. Hindus could refuse to serve anyone who likes to chow down on a hamburger. Atheists? You'd be out of luck just about everywhere.
The conservative Christians behind this legislation are asking for a legal protection to cut off relationships — market or otherwise — with people they view as having sinned. This legislation legally enshrines, in other words, the notion that one can't practice Christianity faithfully while carrying on normal social relationships with people who sin. Here it seems useful to ask why the vendors who are so averse to providing goods or services to people who commit certain categories of sexual sins don't apply that logic more roundly. Would these same bakeries refuse cakes to opposite-sex couples who had premarital sex? Would they refuse to photograph an opposite-sex couple if one member had previously been divorced?Finally, Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal Constitution looks at how Georgia lawmakers are looking to Arizona for tips on bad legislating:
Though the bill was passed to target same-sex couples, there's no reason, operating under its logic, it could not be extended much further. [...] The logic of this bill and those who support it threatens to twist Christianity into a vile, exclusionary, isolating thing. It wrongly appropriates an un-Christian anthropology to do little more than arbitrarily target people who fall on the wrong side of a particular moral line, and at the end of the day seems equipped to do nothing more than insulate certain Christians from people they feel they're holier than.
House Bill 1023, "The Preservation of Religious Freedom Act," was introduced last week in the Georgia House and is scheduled for a hearing this afternoon in a House Judiciary subcommittee. That quick action suggests that the bill has at least some chance of advancing. (It should be noted that the bill has bipartisan support, with at least three Democrats as co-sponsors.) If enacted into law, HB 1023 turns religion into a veritable "get out of jail or lawsuits free" card for any state or local law. It exempts people and businesses from any government action or legal proceeding that "directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the exercise of religion by any person or that directly or indirectly pressures any person to engage in any action contrary to that person's exercise of religion." [...]
Such legislation has become the latest conservative rage all around the country; similar "religious freedom" bills have been introduced in Kansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and quite a few other states. The campaign is motivated by two or three isolated cases that have been well-publicized in right-wing circles in which businesses were sued for refusing to sell their services or products to gay couples.
And of course, that makes the legislation here in Georgia even dumber than it first seems, which is saying something. Those lawsuits occurred in New Mexico and Colorado, where discrimination against gay people is illegal under state law. Georgia has no law that protects gay people from discrimination, and is extremely unlikely to be passing one anytime soon. It thus has no reason -- not even a bad reason -- to pursue HB 1023. The bill was filed and is being pushed solely because that's what all the cool conservative kids are doing, and because it sends a message of defiance to those who believe that gay Americans ought to be treated the same as everybody else.