Daily Roundup: Arizona Religious Freedom Bill Vetoed by Governor

Posted on February 27, 2014 in Public Policy, Religious Freedom by

Jan  BrewerIn a surprising move by outspoken conservative Republican Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona religious freedom bill that has caused so much controversy in the last week has been vetoed.

Unfortunately mischaracterizations and outright lies from opponents seemed to have overwhelmed public opinion about this bill and contributed to its demise. While many claimed the bill would encourage and allow discrimination, the truth is that it simply would have brought Arizona law up to the level of federal law regarding religious freedom. It would have also protected any person of faith from being sued for living according to their religious convictions.

While I can’t begin to speculate on Gov. Brewer’s motives, the fact that she has been so outspoken and firm in her beliefs in the face of opposition leas me to believe there was something greater at stake for her here. In my opinion, Gov. Brewer was the victim of economic bullying. This opposed to this bill, including the NFL, made sure the governor knew that they would harm Arizona financially should she sign the bill into law.

Welcome to the new America. A place where your beliefs are protected, so long as they align with what the federal government deems acceptable. If they don’t, expect persecution and threats until you either change your views or shut up.

Personally, I feel bad for Gov. Brewer. She seems to have been between a rock and a hard place and it appears she suffered from the tight squeeze. Brewer cited the fact that she is not aware of one Arizona Christian business that has faced a lawsuit over their religious convictions. Well, that’s short sighted. Is the wisest position to wait until after someone’s life is potentially ruined before protecting him or her? Sadly, this is the state of American politics.

The following articles serve as a roundup following the decision to the veto the bill:

Fox News: Arizona governor vetoes controversial bill allowing religious beliefs as defense for denying service “Brewer, who spent several days considering whether to sign the bill, said it had ‘the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.'”

CNN: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial anti-gay bill, SB 1062 “To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes…Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.”

Washington Times: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial religious freedom bill “Doug Napier, senior counsel for the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom in Scottsdale, said the veto represented a defeat for freedom and victory for fear and a national campaign that the bill’s proponents said had wildly distorted the bill. ‘Freedom loses when fear overwhelms facts and a good bill is vetoed. Today’s veto enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona.'”

WND: ARIZONA GOVERNOR VETOES RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM BILL “Senior counsel Doug Napier said, ‘Freedom loses when fear overwhelms facts and a good bill is vetoed. Today’s veto enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona. Even though the battle has become more difficult, Alliance Defending Freedom stands ready to defend any Arizonan who suffers the indignity of religious discrimination.’ The bill would have clarified the state’s 1999 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, bringing it into conformity with federal law.”

Phoenix Business Journal: Legal opinions differ on SB 1062 as Suns, Amex, GoDaddy join opposition “The Alliance Defending Freedom — a conservative legal group that supports SB 1062 — has put together a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. ‘The government has no business telling its citizens what they can’t say or what they must say, and it must be prevented from punishing its citizens for their ideas and beliefs as has occurred to people in other states. That’s all SB 1062 is about’…The letter contends SB 1062 builds upon existing state religious freedom statutes and coordinates them with federal law. ‘So, to be clear: SB1062 does not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons…. It resolves ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation elsewhere. It deserves your accurately informed consideration.'”

Your West Valley: Brewer vetoes ‘religious freedom’ bill  “Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated. The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences. After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.”

USA Today: Gov. Brewer vetoes Arizona anti-gay bill  “Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod said the bill did nothing more than try to assure that laws could not force people to violate their faith unless there is a compelling governmental interest. ‘It is truly a tragic day in our state and nation when lies and personal attacks can over shadow the truth,’ she said. Had Brewer signed it into law, the bill would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses that face discrimination lawsuits if they could prove they acted upon a ‘sincerely-held religious belief.'”

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