Where does ‘Cathi’s Clown’ stand on the Religious Bigotry bill?

The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) stealth candidate for governor of Arizona is the only candidate yet to take a position on the Religious Bigotry bill. Cathi Herrod from CAP is on State Treasurer Doug Ducey’s campaign steering committee (he proudly displays her endorsement on his campaign web site).

Where does “Cathi’s Clown” stand on the Religious Bigotry bill? Ducey told Howard Fischer only that he is “studying it,” saying he will “approach this as both a man of faith and a businessman.” Head of economic development group asks Brewer to veto controversial religion bill.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Business leaders: SB1062 could damage Arizona for years to come:

Most Republican gubernatorial candidates came out in opposition to SB1062. Secretary of State Ken Bennett was one of several who said the bill was unneeded to protect rights that already have sufficient protections.

“SB 1062 is an unnecessary measure to protect a God-given right already assured by the Constitution,” Bennett said in a press statement. “I strongly support religious freedom, but divisive measures such as these distract us from the most important challenges facing Arizona — jobs and economic development.”

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said it troubles him that religious rights are being “trampled on.” But Smith, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasized that he is also a member of a church that has experienced “severe persecution.”

“I firmly believe that discrimination or bigotry in any form is unacceptable. I am concerned that SB1062 carries the real potential for unintended legal consequences that could negatively impact our most basic rights, including the freedom of religion. This bill also could have a detrimental impact on Arizona’s business environment at a time when our economy is still fragile,” Smith said in a press statement.

Christine Jones, a former executive and attorney for the web-hosting company GoDaddy, agrees with the essence of SB1062 in that government should not force businesses and professionals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs. But she opposed the legislation.

“I strongly urge the state Legislature, and its leadership, to focus its time and energy on policy development that will help stimulate Arizona’s economy, lay a foundation for job creation, and improve Arizona’s reputation on the national and international stage. SB1062 will simply be used to caricature our state and hurt our economic growth and should, for that reason, be withdrawn,” Jones said in a press statement.

Frank Riggs, a former congressman from California, called SB1062 “an overreaching public policy and overreaching law.”

Riggs said he supports traditional marriage and noted that he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act while in Congress. And Riggs said he does not think business owners should be forced to violate their religious beliefs, such as in the publicized case of a New Mexico wedding photographer who was sued for refusing to take photos for a gay couple’s wedding, which SB1062 raised as an example during the debate over the bill. But he said current protections in state and federal are already adequate, and noted that sexual orientation is not protected by Arizona’s anti-discrimination laws.

“We’re kind of in search of a solution for a potential legal dilemma that does not exist under Arizona law,” Riggs said.

The only GOP gubernatorial candidate to go on the record in support of the bill is Sen. Al Melvin, R-SaddleBrooke, who voted for SB1062 on the Senate floor.

Melvin said SB1062 is simply a matter of freedom of religion. If gay marriage is contrary to a businessperson’s religious beliefs, he or she shouldn’t be forced to have any involvement in a same-sex marriage, Melvin said.

I see that disgraced and disbarred former Maricopa County Attorney “Saint” Andrew Thomas did not make this list, but it is safe to assume that he supports this bill, given his history of pandering to the Religious Right.

By the way, where does Tucson car dealer and GOP bundler Jim Click stand on this bill? Click sponsored a “Draft Doug Ducey” for governor web site that featured his open letter of support for Ducey for Governor. Click is raising tons of cash for Ducey and is prominently displayed as a supporter on Ducey’s campaign web site.

Does Jim Click also support Cathi Herrod and this CAP bill for Religious Bigotry? Is Jim Click financing a Center for Arizona Policy stealth candidate for governor of Arizona? If he wants to sell cars in Tucson, shouldn’t he distance himself from Cathi Herrod and the CAP and this Religious Bigotry bill?

These are the questions that our local media never ask because they are so dependent on that sweet Jim Click advertising buys.

Democrat Fred DuVal released this statement on Friday. Fred DuVal Urges Veto of Bill to Legalize Discrimination:

If I were governor, I wouldn’t have waited for this bill to get to my desk. I would have stopped it before it passed. I would have made it very clear to the legislature that they shouldn’t bother sending me this legislation. This bill won’t solve any of the problems facing Arizona families; it won’t create jobs or improve education. In fact, it will be a job killer. It’s going to hurt our businesses and hurt our state’s reputation across the country — it’s just plain wrong.

I urge Governor Brewer to consider the opinions of Arizonans such as Senator John McCain, who has said he wouldn’t support SB 1062, and organizations such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, which called this bill ‘anti-business.’”

Now is the time for the Republican candidates for Governor — Doug Ducey, Ken Bennett, and Christine Jones — to show some spine: Will they stand up against legalized discrimination or bow down to Cathi Herrod? Anyone who wants to lead the State of Arizona, ought to speak clearly and honestly about where they stand on legalized discrimination. November is coming.

We’re still waiting for “Cathi’s Clown” to take a stand.

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