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getordained blog 3.4.14Eyes across the United States were turned towards the State of Arizona as a piece of legislation worked its way through the state government and finally landed on the governor's desk. Everyone wanted to know whether or not Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, would veto bill that would directly impact the lives of the millions of people who live, work, and visit Arizona. Unlike other bills that have recently been weighed throughout the United States, this one did not relate to gay marriage. Instead, it had to do with whether or not Arizona business owners would be allowed by law to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers. Though Governor Brewer ultimately chose to veto bill, there are still many concerns about this legislation, what it meant, and what role it might play in similar bills in the United States and other countries.

What the Bill Proposed to Allow

Supporters of this controversial bill felt that Arizona business owners who held religious beliefs regarding the moral rightness or wrongness of homosexual identities should be legally protected if the business owners chose to refuse service to lesbian or gay customers. Though examples frequently cited included protections for bakeries that refused to make cakes celebrating gay marriage ceremonies, opponents pointed out the bill's numerous flaws:

  • The bill depended on business owner assumptions about individual customers; there is no consistent way to judge whether or not someone is lesbian or gay unless they state that they are participating in a gay marriage.
  • The wording of the bill was too vague and appeared to give license to broad discrimination rather than to the exercise of religious freedom.
  • The bill did not conclusively prove that the religious rights of business owners' were impinged by a customer requesting a service.
  • Depending on interpretation, the bill was either redundant with regards to the rights of business owners or contradictory to laws that already exist regarding discrimination in commercial settings.

Other Concerns Regarding Arizona's Business Bill

Arizona citizens also pointed out that should the Governor not veto bill, it would have to be weighed by a higher court. There was considerable question among legal experts about whether the bill, as it was written, would stand up to scrutiny by a higher court. Having a higher court decide whether or not the bill was in keeping with established and accepted legal precedent would have cost a considerable amount of tax payer money, an expense that would have been criticized by fiscal conservatives.

Category: Get Ordained

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