Arizona | Discrimination | News

Arizona Has Another Anti-Gay Bill Brewing

Now that the dust has settled from the demise of SB 1062, attention is turning to another bill pending in the state's legislature, The Republic reports:

Gayban_arizonaHouse Bill 2481, which has advanced on mostly party-line committee votes and is awaiting a debate by the full House of Representatives, would prevent government from requiring ordained clergy and judges to “solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, is narrower than SB 1062, which would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could have proved they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.”

Montenegro is an assistant pastor who says that he introduced the legislation because of cases in which churches in New Jersey and England were sued for refusing to perform gay weddings.

While troubling, it's not the religious institution aspect of the bill that's drawing the attention here but another part of it:

The Anti-Defamation League has spoken against a provision that would extend the right to refuse to conduct ceremonies to judges, justices of the peace and clerks who perform them.

Religious officials are already exempt from lawsuits filed by people who feel they were wrongly denied marriage services, said Tracey Stewart, assistant regional director for the Anti- Defamation League. But judges and other civil servants are not men of the cloth, she said.

“Those are usually individuals who are employed by government,” Stewart said. Part of their public service as a government official extends to performing civil, not religious, marriage ceremonies, she said.

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. So stupid...It is currently illegal to marry as a same sex couple in Arizona, so why spend time on laws that make no sense? Why not try to make laws that grow the economy, get people off welfare, help the poor, maintain roads and clean drinking water and come up with alternative energy solutions?

    Posted by: Seth | Mar 1, 2014 9:18:39 AM


  2. No church in New Jersey was ever sued for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding. A church in New Jersey was sued for refusing to rent an outdoor space, a beach pavilion, for a same-sex commitment ceremony. That church accepted TAX DOLLARS to maintain that outdoor space and rented that outdoor space to all other members of the public who were not members of the church. They were clearly in violation of public accommodation laws.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 1, 2014 9:20:43 AM


  3. Seth, because all of those sensible things you mention are not part of the republican agenda no matter how much they may bandy them about during elections. The republican agenda is a very simple one. It is to divide and subjugate as much as possible to benefit the very wealthy at whatever cost and by whatever means necessary.

    Posted by: Kenneth | Mar 1, 2014 9:34:52 AM


  4. As always, the Christians are lying. They are lying whenever their lips move.

    The church in New Jersey rented out a pavilion for business. That's it. They weren't asked to perform the wedding. Just rent out the place. Those assholes even got tax breaks for it under a program that specifically required them to make it available to the entire public.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 1, 2014 10:34:34 AM


  5. As I've already said, you can't spell "CRAZY" without "R-AZ".

    Posted by: TheSeer | Mar 1, 2014 11:01:00 AM


  6. Not until (a) they die off and/or (b) their funding dries up and/or (c) the US Supreme Court rules otherwise, our haters are going to go on hating us while using every trick in their homophobic playbook to keep us away from equality and, thus, second-class citizens in our own country. This, of course, cannot stand so we must go on fighting the "good fight" wherever and whenever necessary. With this pending bill, it appears the fight will go on against Arizona's anti-gay state government.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Mar 1, 2014 11:09:36 AM


  7. Churches just need to get out of the marriage business in the first place. In some countries you go to the court house for the "legal" marriage performance and then they go to the church to be "solemnized".

    Posted by: Jere | Mar 1, 2014 11:13:23 AM


  8. The church in NJ was sued for refusing to allow a same sex marriage...to take place...in pavilion on city property rented by the church. No pastors or other church members were ever asked to perform a ceremony. LIAR.

    Posted by: Qj201 | Mar 1, 2014 11:39:49 AM


  9. What I would do is ban all religious solemnizations as undue intrusion into a civil process. If they want to do something on their own, great. But don't sign a civil document there.

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 1, 2014 1:56:44 PM


  10. 1) Christers have a persecution complex.
    2) You can't have a persecution complex unless you bear false witness.
    3) Draw your own conclusions.

    Posted by: Hansel Currywurst | Mar 1, 2014 2:02:16 PM


  11. If we would like to be accepted for who we are, perhaps we, as a community, should tone down all the anti religion hatefulness we throw around here. To label all religious people as anti-gay, hate mongrels is no more accurate than saying all gays are whores with no morals. I, for one, have no problem with protecting people's rights not to be forced to officiate a marriage that goes against their beliefs. There are plenty of people in this world who are more than willing to officiate over a same sex ceremony.

    Posted by: wheelie81 | Mar 1, 2014 4:50:02 PM


  12. I agree Wheelie. Recent polling indicates that a lot of bisexual and gay people are devout Christians, and a lot of Christians support gay people. Hateful and bigoted language against people of faith is bigotry too.

    Posted by: Malcolm | Mar 1, 2014 4:53:49 PM


  13. Andrew Sullivan: "As for the case for allowing fundamentalists to discriminate against anyone associated with what they regard as sin, I'm much more sympathetic. I favor maximal liberty in these cases. The idea that you should respond to a hurtful refusal to bake a wedding cake by suing the bakers is a real stretch to me.

    Yes, they may simply be homophobic, rather than attached to a coherent religious worldview. But so what? There are plenty of non-homophobic bakers in Arizona. If we decide that our only response to discrimination is a lawsuit, we gays are ratcheting up a culture war we would do better to leave alone. We run the risk of becoming just as intolerant as the anti-gay bigots, if we seek to coerce people into tolerance. If we value our freedom as gay people in living our lives the way we wish, we should defend that same freedom to sincere religious believers and also, yes, to bigots and haters. You do not conquer intolerance with intolerance. As a gay Christian, I'm particularly horrified by the attempt to force anyone to do anything they really feel violates their conscience, sense of self, or even just comfort…

    Let bigots be bigots. Let gays be gays. And when those values conflict, let's do all we can not to force the issue. We're living in a time of drastic change with respect to homosexuality. It is perfectly understandable that many traditional-minded people, especially in the older age brackets, are disconcerted, upset and confused. So give them some space; instead of suing them, talk to them. Try seeing things from their point of view. Appeal to their better nature as Christians. And start defusing by your tolerance the paranoia and hysteria Roger Ailes lives off."

    Posted by: Malcolm | Mar 1, 2014 4:54:12 PM


  14. Andrew Sullivan: "As for the case for allowing fundamentalists to discriminate against anyone associated with what they regard as sin, I'm much more sympathetic. I favor maximal liberty in these cases. The idea that you should respond to a hurtful refusal to bake a wedding cake by suing the bakers is a real stretch to me.

    Yes, they may simply be homophobic, rather than attached to a coherent religious worldview. But so what? There are plenty of non-homophobic bakers in Arizona. If we decide that our only response to discrimination is a lawsuit, we gays are ratcheting up a culture war we would do better to leave alone. We run the risk of becoming just as intolerant as the anti-gay bigots, if we seek to coerce people into tolerance. If we value our freedom as gay people in living our lives the way we wish, we should defend that same freedom to sincere religious believers and also, yes, to bigots and haters. You do not conquer intolerance with intolerance. As a gay Christian, I'm particularly horrified by the attempt to force anyone to do anything they really feel violates their conscience, sense of self, or even just comfort…

    Let bigots be bigots. Let gays be gays. And when those values conflict, let's do all we can not to force the issue. We're living in a time of drastic change with respect to homosexuality. It is perfectly understandable that many traditional-minded people, especially in the older age brackets, are disconcerted, upset and confused. So give them some space; instead of suing them, talk to them. Try seeing things from their point of view. Appeal to their better nature as Christians. And start defusing by your tolerance the paranoia and hysteria Roger Ailes lives off."

    Posted by: Malcolm | Mar 1, 2014 4:54:13 PM


  15. Quisling

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 1, 2014 6:30:46 PM


  16. And Andrew Sullivan is a right-winger. He is correct sometimes, but at the end of the day he shares the same insane political beliefs as the Teabaggers.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 1, 2014 6:31:38 PM


  17. @Malcolm: No church has been or will be forced to sanction any marriage they wish not to sanction. As for the public sphere, there is no reason to allow the religious a special pass to discriminate that no one else gets. It's not about coercing anyone into tolerance--it's about everyone, including gay people, having the same constitutional rights.

    It is true, however, that not all people of faith are anti-gay. Faith allies have been crucial to civil rights progress. Using religion as an excuse for bigotry is simply unacceptable.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 1, 2014 7:23:23 PM


  18. As a historical note, a bill protecting clergy from having to perform same-sex marriages if that violated religious beliefs was introduced (and passed, I think), in California by openly gay representatives. When the predecessor of Prop 8 (i.e., Prop 22) was overturned by the California Supreme Court, that court ruling specifically stated that religious organizations (e.g., churches) would not have to perform ceremonies that conflicted with their beliefs. The "Yes in 8" side simply lied and claimed that Proposition Eight was necessary to protect such ministers. So the bill was introduced, not as an anti-gay measure, but to eliminate an argument that might be used to block a repeal of Proposition 8 via another initiative. Of course, it turned out that an initiative was not needed as the courts finally threw Proposition Eight out.

    Given that, I think this bill (as described - you have to read it in full to find any catches) sounds harmless. It might even be useful if someone wants to change the law to allow same sex marriages in Arizona as it would eliminate one argument the bigots might try to use to oppose such a bill.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 1, 2014 8:55:48 PM


  19. ...Oh ... missed one part of it - The comment above was based on the assumption that it applied only to clergy, not to people hired by the states such as judges or justices of the peace.

    The point above is valid, but the bill would have to be amended to remove any reference to people who are not ministers, pastors, rabbis, etc.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 1, 2014 9:00:04 PM


  20. Malcolm, laws about businesses and minorities or anyone else aren't written for places where there are lots of business providing the service someone wants. The Civil Rights Act didn't affect many lunch counters and hotels and hospitals in most of the country. It affected those where there was segregation.

    Sure, someone in Tempe can easily find a venue and flowers and caterers and a cake for their gay wedding and a hospital when they need it. This may not be the case in Yuma.

    And in a civilized society we also don't expect people willing to pay money for a service or product to call a list of providers or walk in the door and be told "we don't serve your kind."

    Libertarians like to imagine that the free enterprise system will take care of all of this on its own. Oddly, in major parts of the country a century wasn't enough for African Americans.

    Posted by: emjayay | Mar 1, 2014 11:22:22 PM


  21. Who would want someone officiating at their wedding, or taking photos of it, or baking their cake who didn't approve of them getting married in the first place, for whatever reason? Makes no sense and proposed laws about any of this are a waste of time.

    Posted by: JACKSON | Mar 2, 2014 2:56:21 AM


  22. Churches should define their own rights. But if you're a civil servant you have to serve everyone.

    Posted by: Armando | Mar 2, 2014 4:35:59 PM


  23. Personally, I wouldn't want to be married by a person that hates, and finds it perfectly reasonable to hate. If you don't want to be married by a judge, find someone (a friend) that is licensed and willing to marry (gays) in your state. With all the controversy, I'm sure he/she will state upfront, that they are inclusive and accepting of both straight and gay couples.

    Posted by: SFRowGuy | Mar 3, 2014 2:01:52 PM


Post a comment







Trending


« «The Chainsmokers Remix Bastille's 'Flaws': LISTEN« «