Do you remember Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado who was ordered by administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals or face fines, even though doing so violates Phillips’ Christian religious beliefs?
The Arizona state legislator just passed a bill, SB 1062: Exercise of Religion, to protect business owners from what happened to Phillips.
In the past few years, there have been several cases of business owners facing lawsuits after refusing to provide their services to homosexual couples at their “weddings.” This bill would prevent such suits from being filed in Arizona and would protect objecting business owners from facing heavy fines.
The bill, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Jan Brewer, has been lambasted as discriminatory by its opponents, but its defenders say it’s a necessary protection for religious freedom.
As we would expect, Democrats oppose SB 1062, including all four of Arizona’s Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s religion and belief program, said, “Religious freedom is a fundamental right, but it’s not a blank check to harm others or impose our faith on our neighbors.” The ACLU opposes the legislation.
But the bill also is opposed by Republicans, including:
- Arizona’s two federal senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have urged Gov. Brewer to veto SB 1062.
- Of Arizona’s Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, one has refused to comment while the other four have not yet commented.
The reaction to SB 1062 from the media has been heated to say the least. In an interview with CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo, Kelly Fiedorek, attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, tried explaining the bill and how it would protect religious freedom. She says:
“[There’s] a basic difference between denying someone a cup of coffee or a piece of pizza or selling someone a pencil versus forcing someone to use their creative ability to create a message to support an event, to support an idea that goes against their beliefs. For example, we would not force a Muslim to participate in a Koran-burning ceremony. We wouldn’t ask a black photographer and force them to go take a picture of a KKK event. This is America and in America we should be able to live freely and not be forced to endorse ideas.”
Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, responded to the fiery reaction to the passing of SB 1062 in a statement on Saturday:
“The attacks on SB 1062 show politics at its absolute worse. They represent precisely why so many people are sick of the modern political debate. Instead of having an honest discussion about the true meaning of religious liberty, opponents of the bill have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks, and irresponsible reporting. I urge Governor Brewer to send a clear message to the country that in Arizona, everyone, regardless of their faith, will be protected in Arizona by signing SB 1062.”
The bill now awaits Gov. Jan Brewer’s signing or veto sometime this week. Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year during a self-imposed freeze on signing legislation until a budget was passed for the 2014 fiscal year.
According to CNN, Brewer is expected to veto what the liberal media insist on calling “the anti-gay bill” because “Sources say she is concerned about this bill taking away from other issues she is now pressing, such as overhauling Arizona’s child protective services system.”
Here’s contact info for Gov. Brewer:
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phoenix Office: (602) 542-4331
Tucson Office: (520) 628-6580
In-State Toll Free: 1-800-253-0883 (outside Maricopa County only)
Fax Number: (602) 542-1381
To send an email, click here.