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February 26, 2014

Jan Brewer Does That Thing You All Knew She Would and Vetoes SB 1062

This is breaking, so I don't have a link.

In a way, this is a safe move for her, because it has been argued that SB 1062 actually does nothing that Arizona law already doesn't do.

In fact, that Christian Post article claims it's harder to plead your faith as a reason to refuse service under SB 1062 than it is under current Arizona law -- which already has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

I don't know if that's exactly true, but that argument is claimed.

The one thing SB 1062 would do to expand that right is to expand the class of people who could plead it.

Here are six important points to understand about the just-passed bill:

1. If Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signs it, the bill, S.B. 1062, would make some modifications to a 1999 Arizona law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

2. Under current Arizona law, if a business wanted to discriminate against gays, they would not need this bill to be passed to do so. It is not currently illegal for a business to deny service to someone because they are gay. Some cities in Arizona have ordinances against it but there is no state law against it. If business owners in Arizona wanted to deny service to gays, they could do so in most of the state under current law.

...

4. A RFRA law, either state or federal, does not give anyone the license to do anything they want based upon their religious beliefs. Rather, it says what needs to happen for the government to take away someone's religious freedom. RFRA provides citizens with religious freedom protections, but that does not mean that everyone who claims their religious freedom is violated will win a court case using RFRA as their defense.

...

6. Even if a business wanted to claim the right to not serve gays under RFRA, their claim would be even harder to defend under S.B. 1062. So, anyone who is concerned that someone may one day try to use RFRA to discriminate against gays should prefer the bill that was just passed over current law.

I'll let you read the rest of the article, which is quite long. But this is why Brewer might have decided to veto it-- she could claim "the law already protects religious objections to homosexuality" and thereby avoid (sort of) a political clusterfark.

On the other hand, SB 1062 was not without any effect at all. It did seek to clarify the already-existing RFRA, as argued by Powerline:

SB1062 would amend the Arizona RFRA to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs. It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

Without that clarification, people will certainly feel more threatened by lawsuit -- or state or local government -- when they seek to exercise their religious conscience.

Because they use the word "clarify" and "ambiguities," I assume the current law is not quite clear on these points (while also not denying the RFRA applies to these cases).

Brewer, who I think frankly is a clumsy, doltish weathervane, was probably also swayed by suggestions by the NFL that they'd take away Arizona's 2015 Super Bowl hosting if this bill passed.

You know, I support gays' freedom. I just wish gays, and their boosters, supported other people's freedoms as well.


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posted by Ace at 08:26 PM

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