Today we are told that Gov. Brewer (R, Ariz), vetoed SB 1062, the putative amendment to the Arizona Religious Freedom Restoration Act that currently applies only to religious institutions. SB 1062 does only one thing, and even that is harmless. Some context.
In its original form, Arizona’s RFRA statute mirrors the federal RFRA and most other states, thus requiring strict scrutiny of any law that imposes a religious burden on “persons”. Arizona’s RFRA, however, seemed to limit “persons” to individuals and “religious institutions” but not private businesses.
All the new SB1062 does is extend that protection from “religious institutions”–like churches–to individuals and businesses. It does not mean the the state may not force someone to violate his/her religious belief due to some “law of neutral application,” it just means the state better have a compelling state interest and not just a “reasonable” one and the law better be focused and the least intrusive.
The entire brouhaha from the homosexual constituency is, as a matter of law, misplaced. Today, in Arizona there is no “accommodation” law that requires a business serving the public to serve homosexuals. The state law only applies to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry–like the federal civil rights law. Many states have added “sexual preference” to this list. This is why a Colorado court could order a Christian baker to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage even though that violated the Christian’s religious beliefs. It is why a Christian professional photography business was brought before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission and lost when it refused to take pictures at a homosexual marriage.
In these two states and many others that have a specific statute that requires a private business providing goods or services to the public to refrain from discriminating against “sexual preference” deviants, the Arizona law might have an effect. But, in Arizona, there is no such law. I can, as an individual or business, already discriminate lawfully against homosexuals.
This dust up is really pure polemics, and therefore politics, and not law.
Specifically, Arizona’s public accommodation law provides:
§ 41-1442. Discrimination in places of public accommodation; exceptions
A. Discrimination in places of public accommodation against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry is contrary to the policy of this state and shall be deemed unlawful.
B. No person, directly or indirectly, shall refuse to, withhold from or deny to any person, nor aid in or incite the refusal to deny or withhold, accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, nor shall distinction be made with respect to any person based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry in connection with the price or quality of any item, goods or services offered by or at any place of public accommodation.
C. Any person who is under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, who is guilty of boisterous conduct, who is of lewd or immoral character, who is physically violent or who violates any regulation of any place of public accommodation that applies to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry may be excluded from any place of public accommodation and nothing in this article shall be considered to limit the right of such exclusion.
D. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article and except as required by federal law, it is not an unlawful practice if a person fails to provide a trained and competent bilingual person who is skilled in interpreting a language other than English to assist a person who is seeking services at a place of public accommodation. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article and except as required by federal law, a person who offers a service at a place of public accommodation is not required to provide a person who is seeking the service any form or other documentation in that person’s native language.
E. It is not an unlawful practice pursuant to this section for a person to fail to provide service at a place of public accommodation if by providing the service the person offering the service would violate a state or federal law or a rule that is adopted by a state or federal board, commission or agency that has jurisdiction over the person offering the service.
What this controversy demonstrates once again is that conservative politicians will cave into pressure from the progressive left almost all of the time. And, the homosexual progressive left is about as vicious as it gets. They’ve come out of the closet swinging with both fists, armed to the teeth with political rhetoric, and no match for the spineless Republican “conservative” who tends to be frightened of the shadows cast by the constitutional principles professed to be so cherished.