Second Religious Bigotry bill dies in AZ legislature

AzEqualEarlier this year I told you about Rep. Steve Montenegro’s (R-Litchfield Park) bill, HB 2481, which sought  to make it illegal for government to “require a minister to solemnize a marriage inconsistent with a minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” A solution in search of a non-existent problem.

Apparently the Arizona legislature finally realized it was a solution in search of a non-existent problem and killed this bill. Another ‘religious freedom’ bill dies in Legislature:

A bill touted as an attempt to protect religious freedom among clergy and judges has died, following the path of Senate Bill 1062, which was widely denounced as discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

House Bill 2481 would have prevented government from requiring ordained clergy and judges to “solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The legislation, which was sponsored by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, was narrower than SB 1062, which would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could have proved that they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.”

House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, never scheduled a house vote on HB 2481, and the deadline for the bill to advance to the Senate has passed.

Montenegro’s bill was not as narrow as the reporting suggests. It would have applied to judges and justices of the peace, which would put the judiciary in direct conflict with their duties as public servants. This bill deserved death.

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