Action Alert: Contact Governor Brewer, tell her to veto SB 1062, the Religious Bigotry bill

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Tea-Publican controlled Arizona House passed the Religious Bigotry today, and conformed the bill to the Senate version passed yesterday. The bill will now be transmitted to Governor Jan Brewer. Contact Governor Brewer and tell her to veto this state-sanctioned discrimination bill, as she did last year. Arizona does not need another blacke eye like SB 1070.

The Arizona Republic reports, Ariz. House passes controversial religion bill; goes to Gov. Brewer:

Kill-bill-vol-1The Legislature has given final approval to a controversial religion bill that’s spurring intense debate at the Legislature and across the country.

The legislation, written by the conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy and the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, would allow individuals to use religious beliefs as a defense against a lawsuit.

Opponents have dubbed it the “right to discriminate” bill, and say it could prompt an economic backlash against the state, similar to what they say occurred when the state passed the controversial immigration law Senate Bill 1070 in 2010.

* * *

The bill will be sent to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to sign it into law, veto the bill or do nothing and allow it to become law.

Specifically, the legislation proposes to:

— Expand the state’s definition of the exercise of religion to include both the practice and observance of religion;

— Allow someone to assert a legal claim of free exercise of religion regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceedings;

— Expand those protected under the state’s free exercise of religion law to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization."

— In order to assert a free exercise of religion defense, the individual, business or church must establish that their action is motivated by a religious belief, that the belief is sincerely held, and that the person’s beliefs are substantially burdened.

That's right, "corporations are people my friend." This radical bill purports to give fictional legal entities, e.g., an association, partnership, corporation, or other business organization, First Amendment religious liberty rights. Supporters of the bill cannot explain how a fictional legal entity which is a corporate body of directors and shareholders can have individual religious liberty rights — whose religion? And who decides? The board of directors? The shareholders? Do they all have to share the same religious belief?

The Founding Fathers, who were opposed to corporations, are rolling over in their graves. The Bill of Rights are individual liberties for persons, not fictional legal entities. The courts have never recognized that corporations enjoy the full panoply of rights of individuals, but rather have selectively extended only some rights to fictional legal entities. Political speech under the First Amendment is one example.

"The bill votes were mostly along party lines, with Republicans supporting and Democrats opposing. Three Republicans representatives, Ethan Orr, Kate Brophy-McGee and Heather Carter were also no votes."

When you do the right thing, I will give you credit where credit is due, E.Orr. Since you did not speak during the floor debate, I do not know your reasons or motivation for your vote. Please feel free to explain your vote in the comments. I bet Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at CAP are interested in knowing as well.

Supporters views can be boiled down simply: "If my sincerely held religious belief is that I am intolerant of gays (or any other identifiable group under the ambiguous language of this bill), then it is my right to discriminate against gays. And your opposition to this bill is discriminatory and intolerant of my right to be discriminatory and intolerant of others." It is moral absolutism.

Rep. "Fast Freddie" Farnsworth, the House sponsor of the bill, kept repeating almost with glee that gays and lesbians are not a protected class under state or federal civil rights laws. This is true. This is why an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) amendment has been proposed to the Arizona Civil Rights Act every year since 1996, including this year. It will not get a hearing in committee because of guys like "Fast Eddie." (The U.S. Senate passed an ENDA bill lasy year, but the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, refuses to bring ENDA up for a vote in Congress.)

Democrats had to explain to "Fast Eddie" that several municipalities including Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, do in fact have city ordinances which give protected class status to gays and lesbians. ""Fast Eddie's" response was to sneer that the state does not recognize protected class status.

"Fast Eddie" may not be aware of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, where a unanimous three-judge panel ruled that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause for a lawyer to “strike” (that is, remove) individuals from a jury panel on account of their sexual orientation.

The Ninth Circuit's heightened scrutiny standard for equal protection review is what caused the state of Nevada to drop its defense of its same-sex marriage ban currently before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Sevcik. v. Sandoval, saying that the state can no longer defend its law. The Ninth Circuit is poised to strike down Nevada's same-sex marriage ban shortly, and that decision will be binding in the Ninth Circuit, which includes Arizona.

So "Fast Eddie's" glee that gays and lesbians are not a protected class is going to be very short-lived indeed. Equal Protection under the 14th amendment means just that: equal. I heard a disturbing echo of the discredited "separate but equal" doctrine in arguments from supporters of this bill today. But as the U.S. Supreme Court held in Brown v. Board of Education, "separate is inherently unequal." We are not going back to the dark days of state-sanctioned segregation.

Contact Governor Jan Brewer and tell her to veto this hateful bill for state-sactioned discrimination and segregation.

The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
Arizona Governor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Telephone, Fax:

Phoenix Office: (602) 542-4331
Tucson Office: (520) 628-6580
Fax Number: (602) 542-1381

In-State Toll Free 1-800-253-0883 (outside Maricopa County only)

E-mail form: Contact the Governor

HOW THE VOTED:

SENATE

Screenshot from 2014-02-20 13:55:30

HOUSE

Screenshot from 2014-02-20 18:42:25

6 responses to “Action Alert: Contact Governor Brewer, tell her to veto SB 1062, the Religious Bigotry bill

  1. As a Wiccan, I have a sincerely held belief that all Christians believe me to be evil, satanic and wish me burned at the stake. For that reason, I must refuse service to any Christian, or those I perceive to be Christian….

    As an aetheist, the very representation of christian church goes against my sincerely held belief, so therefore I would have a legal right to refuse service to any Christian.

    I wonder if these Rupublicans thought of this?

  2. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    Remember, too, a belief does not have to be sane — as long as it is ‘sincerely held.’ Nor does it need to be shared by anyone else. If I am an EMT and believe that ‘red hair is the mark of Satan’ can I walk away from an accident victim who has it. (And it was a belief for many years that even dyed hair was evil and a sign of wickedness. Is that EMT allowed to ‘check the roots’ before deciding who he will treat?)

    Think of the kids lining up for class, first day of school, and the teacher ‘striking the names’ of those she has an objection to teaching. (Not just LGBT-related exemptions, there are still many Protestant groups as anti-Catholic as they were four hundred years ago, still religious groups that are anti-Semitic or anti-Black — or anti-White.)

    Given the principle — the only reason why the Little Sisters case was not thrown out, or Hobby Lobby — that ‘facilitation of evil is itself against religious principles’ can taxi drivers — or bus drivers — conduct baggage searches to make sure they are not carrying anything that conflicts with their religion? Can they refuse to allow a patron to board their bus if he was coming from a bar, a porn store, or a pork store?

    And how deep are we allowed to go to examine whether a belief is ‘sincerely held?’ I think there may actually be case law on this — and the similar ‘sincere belief’ that is the basis of “stand your ground laws’ may also provide (scary) precedents. But if ‘we are all sinners’ then ‘inconsistency’ is not an argument that a belief is insincere. (Catholics who get divorced, are gay, or use birth control continue to ‘sincerely’ believe themselves Catholics — and rightly so.)

    For a lot of reasons, I hope Brewer does veto the bill. But I’ll have to admit that, were I an Arizona lawyer with a nihilist or merely pranksterish streak, it’d take about two weeks to start enough suits that even your legislature would retreat and repeal.

  3. I have emailed, called and been outraged! Another embarrassment for Arizona, and While many states are legalizing same sex civil marriage, Another indication that we have to be vigilant, talk about our difference, and that we have far to go… One day in the future they will look back and think.. those were the dark ages..

  4. Two thoughts here:
    1. Orr may have done almost the right thing in this case but electing any Republican empowers all Republicans. “Moderate” Republicans are enablers!
    2. It would be sweet to see some Christian extremest be denied employment because he or she would not conform to an employers policies. Think about the stink that would be raised if a potential employer says to a candidate for a job, who happens to be a Christian, “It’s our policy to sell widgets, if you will not do that we will not hire you.”

  5. I see that Michele Reagan voted in favor of this religious discrimination bill. We need to remind voters of that if she is the GOP candidate for Sec. of State.

  6. I remember visiting an Uncle in Louisiana as a young child and seeing a ‘Whites Only’ drinking fountain at a gas station. My parents had to explain that to me, and I remember saying “But we don’t have those in Arizona”. That was over 50 years ago. Apparently we had to wait until 2014 for the Arizona Republicans to bring us the same spirit of discrimination here.