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Arizona's Religious Freedom Law: Protecting Religion or Fostering Discrimination?


Boss_Hogg

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The bill is backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. The group says "the proposal is needed to protect against increasingly activist federal courts and simply clarifies existing state law".

 

This bill would give business owners the right to refuse service to gay patrons if doing so goes against their religious beliefs.

 

What's to say some asshole uses this law as a vehicle to withhold goods or services from people of different races, nationalities, or the disabled?

 

Say person X chooses to withhold a gasoline sale to a Muslim family because it's against his religion? Thanks to this law, person X would be immune from all legal recourse.  

 

http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/sb1062p.htm

 

Link to proposed bill. It hasn't passed yet, however it's on Bat **** crazy Brewer's desk.

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How is this even enforceable?  As a brown non-muslim man, I'm sure many people might guess I was muslim if they were forced to guess.  Honestly, I really don't care what religion people think I am, but if a restaurant in Arizona refuses service based on what they suspect-- a) how do they prove I'm Muslim to deny me service; B) how would I deny it? (frankly the fact that they have such policies would be enough for me to decide they don't deserve my business so we'd go our separate ways fairly easily).

 

Likewise, I'm not gay, but if I walked into a restaurant with a male friend, how do they decide that I am or am not gay.

 

Personally I think it'd be funny to go into those establishments, order a bunch of food/services, and before I consume any of them, leave because I don't agree with their religious beliefs -- i.e. "sorry it's against my beliefs to conduct business with Catholics-- you can have your steak back, I haven't taken a single bite"

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Probably better, if possible, if one of ES's actual lawyers give us opinions on this subject.

I know that the law has been portrayed as giving all kinds of rights to encourage people to discriminate against gays, but reading the actual law, it looks a whole lot broader, and a lot more subtle. (And, I have to confess, "subtle" certainly isn't what I expected, from Arizona.)

(I assume somebody else wrote it for them. :) )

The first piece I read of the actual bill differs a bit from your link. (Maybe things got revised.) But they seem similar.

Basically, the law orders the courts, whenever any party asserts that he's invoking his right of religious expression, to apply "strict scrutiny" to that claim. As I understand it, this is a legal term, as far as I know which is previously only applied to maters involving matters of racial impact.

It would mean that any law which in any way affects a person's (claim of) his right to religious expression, can only be applied if the law 1) Fills a "compelling government interest" (there has to be a really good reason for the law), and 2) cannot be fulfilled through any means which has a lesser impact on that person's freedom of religious expression.

It's not a blanket exemption from all laws. But it does but a big burden on anybody who's attempting to apply those laws.

I observe that, while the timing of this law makes it glaringly obvious that the intent is to encourage people to ignore any law that says they can't discriminate, that the actual law doesn't actually say that it only applies to people discriminating against gays, nor does it say that it only applies to Christians.

As opposed to, say, the Kansas proposal, which grants all kinds of blanket protections and immunities, but only to people who are discriminating against gay couples, this law seems to be, at least on paper, neutral as to which religion or which "religious expression" it protects.

I also observe that the law specifically states that the person invoking this claim does not have to show that the thing he's important is an important of necessary part of his religion. It doesn't specify that "anything a person claims is part of his religion, automatically is". But it does explicitly state that it doesn't have to be important.

At least on paper, it would apply equally to a Christian who wants to discriminate against gays, or a Muslim who wants to discriminate against any woman not wearing a hajib.

(Since I cannot believe that Arizona actually intends to pass a law granting special rights to Muslims, I can only assume that they intend to selectively apply the law. But that's an assumption, not something that I see in the law.)

In short, while I assume that the intent is to foster discrimination against gays, (including, I will point out, government discrimination against gays, since the law protects government agencies and employees who chose to refuse to perform their jobs, even those jobs required by law), the actual law looks to be a whole lot more of a broad protection for religious freedom (or, anything which a person chooses to claim is religious freedom), and probably a whole lot more can-of-worm-ish, than I suspect the people voting for it realize.
 

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I'm of the opinion that assholes should have the right to be assholes. If you want to discriminate against someone for their lifestyle that's on them

Now, lets spend the next 50 pages collectively talking out of our respective asses on whether or not homosexuality is a lifestyle choice or not. 3, 2, and 1...

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Possible update: Just was doing a Google for news on the bill, found this story:

AZCentral: 3 GOP senators who voted for SB 1062 asking Brewer to veto bill

 

Three Republican senators who voted for Senate Bill 1062 say they made a bad decision in a rushed process and are now asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the right to refuse service bill. 

 

“We feel it was a solution in search of a problem,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said in an impromptu news conference outside the state Senate. He was joined by Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott. 

 

The two, along with Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, sent Brewer a letter Monday morning asking for a veto.

 

 

More at the link. 

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Another comment/thought. 

 

I've read about other laws designed to encourage "individual" people to refuse people (think it was laws to "protect" anybody in a drug store who's "religion" said they couldn't sell birth control) which not only made the person "exercising his freedom" immune from lawsuit, but also declared that employers could not take action against any employee who invoked this claim as an excuse to refuse to do his job. 

 

(Meaning, even if a business had a policy of serving everyone, every single employee had the "right" to override the employer's policy, and be immune from employer consequences.) 

 

This law does not seem to have that clause.  It may say that an employee invoking this clause is immune from judicial proceedings, but it doesn't say they can't be fired, if they do. 

 

(Although, if the law makes, say, refusing to serve somebody I don't like, into "religious expression", then, if I do that, and my employer fires me, do I have a case for a "I was fired because of my religion" claim?) 

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Dang it, somebody musta tipped em off to the hajib thing

 

If I were guessing, I'd say it's more a case of "The national GOP just called, and they said we're making the entire Party look like endorsing discrimination is (still) our #1 legislative agenda, and they told us to knock it off (till after the election)". 

 

But it's just a theory.  :)

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I'm not in favor if legalizing discrimination but I'm also a small business owner and I'm not interested in being forced to work with people that I don't want to work with. I recognize however, that it would incredibly difficult to legislate something I would find suitable so I understand why they prohibit business discrimination. I don't see this law as a very good idea and it looks like there are big problems with how it was written.

Was this law brought on by those two bakeries that had to sell cakes meant for gay weddings? I guess they were too honest to lose business the old fashion way and just doing a terrible job. Either that it they feared the fallout on Yelp. Damned interwebs.

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She must belong to San Francisco
She must've lost her way
Posting a poster of Poncho and Cisco one California day
She says she believes in Robin Hood and brotherhood
And colors of green and grey
And all you can do is laugh at her
Doesn't anybody know how to pray?
Arizona, take off your rainbow shades
Arizona, have another look at the world, my, my
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids
Arizona, hey won't you go my way?
Mmm, Strip off your pride
You're acting like a teeny-bopper run away child
And scrape off the paint from the face of a little town saint
Arizona, take off your hobo shoes
Arizona, hey won't you go my way?
Follow me up to San Francisco
I will be guide, your way
I'll be the Count of Monte Cristo
You'll be the Countess May
And you can believe in Robin Hood and brotherhood
And rolling the ball in the hay
And I will be reading you an Aesop's fable
Anything to make you stay
Arizona, take off your rainbow shades
Arizona, have another look at the world, my, my
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids
Arizona, hey won't you go my way?
Hey, Arizona, take off your hobo shoes
Arizona, have another look at the world, my, my
Arizona, get off your eight ball blues
Arizona, hey won't you go my way?
Come on, Arizona; take off your rainbow shades


 Too OT? 

 

 

 

 

 

it's just whenever I see the word I hear the song

 

 

whoa...think of how long that's been going on... :lol:

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I'm not in favor if legalizing discrimination but I'm also a small business owner and I'm not interested in being forced to work with people that I don't want to work with.

I wonder if people who refuse to cater a wedding where alcohol would be served should be labeled as bigots.

I know the Amish are very particular about who they do business with. Can we call them bigots?

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I wonder if people who refuse to cater a wedding where alcohol would be served should be labeled as bigots.

I know the Amish are very particular about who they do business with. Can we call them bigots?

 

the church I grew up in would throw ya out for doing it....and they didn't care what ya called them

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Discussing this in the Kansas thread also. It basically allows for "separate but equal" to be reenacted and there's no excuse for such discrimination. 

 

I gave an example: gay couple's car breaks down passing through Arizona. They can't get any help from a nearby service center because they're gay, tow truck refuses to tow their vehicle when he/she sees the gay couple. Basically the gay couple gets to hitchhike now and good luck finding lodging in a town where gays can't even get their car serviced. Using religion to defend this scenario, which very well could happen (probably has) is just as wrong as the defenses used for racial segregation. 

 

I highly doubt Jesus advocated for refusing service to people based on religious differences. His actions advocated for the opposite, so I'm not buying the religious excuse because clearly it's simply a veil.

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Discussing this in the Kansas thread also. It basically allows for "separate but equal" to be reenacted and there's no excuse for such discrimination. 

 

I gave an example: gay couple's car breaks down passing through Arizona. They can't get any help from a nearby service center because they're gay, tow truck refuses to tow their vehicle when he/she sees the gay couple. Basically the gay couple gets to hitchhike now and good luck finding lodging in a town where gays can't even get their car serviced. Using religion to defend this scenario, which very well could happen (probably has) is just as wrong as the defenses used for racial segregation. 

 

I highly doubt Jesus advocated for refusing service to people based on religious differences. His actions advocated for the opposite, so I'm not buying the religious excuse because clearly it's simply a veil.

 

do you think your examples are covered under the compelling state interest clause in the bill?....they usually are (legal eagles feel free to chip in)

cakes that ya can get from another baker not so much.

 

do you think Jesus advocated suing someone out of work or business for offending you?

 

how about a little tolerance from everyone

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do you think your examples are covered under the compelling state interest clause in the bill?....

My opinion? No.

"Compelling state interest" is the same burden of proof that must be met, to pass a law that treats races differently. It's a really tough legal standard to meet. (Which is what the people passing the law, want).

You think forcing tow truck operators to operate rises to that level?

But then, I'm one of those people who, while I do support anti-discrimination laws, I can see the arguments against them, too.

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do you think your examples are covered under the compelling state interest clause in the bill?....they usually are (legal eagles feel free to chip in)

cakes that ya can get from another baker not so much.

 

do you think Jesus advocated suing someone out of work or business for offending you?

 

how about a little tolerance from everyone

 

 I think my examples would be allowable using the proposed law and any law that would permit such is bad. Pretty cut and dry.That action is basically revenge and in the long run doesn't solve much but rather tends to create more problems. 

 

Did I say suing someone out of work for offending another was ok? Nope, sure didn't and it's not what I am talking about. You bringing up the revenge for offense doesn't retroactively justify the offense in the first place either, so why bring it up? It's irrelevant. Just because someone also did something wrong doesn't justify a wrong being done to them.

 

The cake story is a cross section because rather than provide something the person is creating something for someone so even with a cake there is some artistic license I believe. That's a tough one but I'm more inclined to favor the gay couple especially since making a wedding cake and them buying it isn't actually an endorsement of gay marriage, it's simply providing a service. If gun manufacturers aren't responsible for the actions of gun users (which I agree with) then why would a cake maker be responsible for the marriage? While I disagree with suing them out of work because it furthers the divide, I do believe that if you are going to go as far as refusing service to someone based on discrimination hiding behind religion then you should be prepared for the consequences. 

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A couple of questions

1- how can a business owner determine sexual orientation? Is it up the them to decide?

2- drinkers aren't protected under the constitution. So I can refuse to serve one a drink.

3- if I don't offer a product, or service, I shouldn't be compelled to offer it to a protected class just because they want me to provide it

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