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Objections to Arizona's Anti-Gay Bill Were 'Poorly Informed Indignation' Says 'National Review' Editor: VIDEO


Cokie Roberts, Van Jones, and the panel on ABC News' This Week took a look back at this week's controversy over Arizona's anti-gay bill, and Jan Brewer's veto, which Rich Lowry of the National Review thought was wrong.

Said Lowry:

If you get to the facts of this, the law was the subject of a tsunami of poorly informed indignation. It was two minor changes to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Arizona, which has been on the books for 15 years, was modeled on a federal law, championed by Ted Kennedy, signed by Bill Clinton. And all it says is that if you're going to substantially burden someone's exercise of their religion, there has to be a compelling governmental interest at stake...

...It's different than the situation in the Jim Crow south where you had state sanctioned system of discrimination that was flatly unconstitutional. And there was a governmental interest in ensuring that African Americans could travel in the south, which you couldn't do -- if no hotel and no restaurant would serve you.

In this case, the wedding industry is not bristling with hostility to gay people. You're dealing with the occasional baker or florist who has a genuine conscientious objection. And if they do, you can find another baker or florist.

Responded Jones to Lowry's points:

You can't -- look, if you want to be a bigot on your own time, that's fine. But if you want to extend that to your LLC, to your business that you own and hold out for public, you can't point to god to excuse your bigotry.


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  1. Oh, really, Lowry? You want to open up that Pandora's Box? #fool

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Mar 2, 2014 3:18:01 PM

  2. Thei conservative understanding about the overturning of Jim Crow is just factually wrong. The case law ended both de jure (law) and de facto (in fact) discrimination.its just misleading to claim it only ended state discrimination. Their argument would allow businesses to turn away people of color for religious reasons too.

    Posted by: Factoid | Mar 2, 2014 3:27:53 PM

  3. One of the reasons given for gay rights taking so long to achieve is that conservatives claim it only affects a *small percentage* of the population. Yet, here Lowry is claiming that Arizona religious freedom bill should have been made law over an "occasional baker or florist" who doesn't want to work with gay clients. The Republicans really rallied around that particular small percentage of the population.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Mar 2, 2014 3:31:08 PM

  4. My religion prohibits me from serving lying Republican scum.

    Posted by: David | Mar 2, 2014 3:35:11 PM

  5. Indeed, one 'small percentage of the population' is more important than the other *cough* Republican Base...

    And I have no problem with people who don't support Gay marriage for religious reasons, but you have to make sacrifices by living in a secular society. Religious people weren't given the A-Okay to not serve mixed race couples when Loving v. Virginia came around, legalizing inter-racial marriage in the remaining states, so there's no precedent as to why they should be exempt now.

    Posted by: Vera | Mar 2, 2014 3:36:28 PM

  6. If it was only about a small number of wedding-related businesses, then why wasn't the bill written to apply only to these businesses? Lowry and his ilk think we are stupid.

    Posted by: homer | Mar 2, 2014 3:40:54 PM

  7. Lowry is misrepresenting the Civil Rights Act. It barred discrimination based on not only race, but also gender, religion, and national origin.

    Congress outlawed all forms of bigotry broadly recognized at the time. Unlike in 1964, gays are no longer considered to be mentally ill. So it's past time to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list.

    Civil rights law is justified in every context, not merely that of the 1960s American south.

    Posted by: Josh | Mar 2, 2014 3:45:21 PM

  8. Of course, at the time, Lowry's racist rag opposed the Civil Rights Act and promoted Barry Goldwater. So there's that, too.

    Posted by: Josh | Mar 2, 2014 3:48:31 PM

  9. Ah, just another apologist for the lunatic fringe. How very tedious this all is - on OSCAR night, of all things? Who are you wearing, Lowry? JudasWear?

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Mar 2, 2014 3:48:40 PM

  10. The federal law in question, which rarely applies to actual facts on the ground is mostly about tax and zoning issues. If a church wants to build a new building, the town can't use zoning laws to deny the permit because they don't want the church around--stuff like that. There are many cases where zoning laws were used to keep non-profit churches out of areas that wanted property-taxable (ratable) businesses there instead. Also, the law makes it harder to prosecute religious service activities, such as singing, dancing, outdoor preaching, etc. where towns were using public performance and noise ordinances to block church services.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 2, 2014 3:54:03 PM

  11. That's Lowry's opinion and he's entitled to it. He should take it up with Jan Brewer. Good luck!

    Posted by: Anderson | Mar 2, 2014 4:01:12 PM

  12. Lowry's bloviation is a tsunami of poorly informed indignation. He's a slightly more articulate than normal advocate for the Lost Cause.

    Posted by: Jason Macbride | Mar 2, 2014 4:29:41 PM

  13. Lowry: "If you own a coffee shop and you refuse to serve a gay're not going to have a defense under this law, because serving someone coffee is not a burden on your religion."

    False. HB 2153 left it entirely up to the individual to say what qualified as a burden. It defined "Unreasonable burden" to mean "that a person is prevented from using the person's property in a manner THAT THE PERON FINDS SATISFACTORY to fulfill the person's religious mission," (emphasis added).


    Posted by: JJ | Mar 2, 2014 4:35:22 PM

  14. Again...the right-wing extremists can keep spinning and spinning....but for the bazillionth one is asking much less forcing these business owners to engage in gay sex - no infringement on their religious freedoms.

    Posted by: Chrislam | Mar 2, 2014 4:37:10 PM

  15. In my best Stewie voice ... What's that you're asking for religion? 'Special rights'? You know. Like the ones you accused homosexuals of? Cause you're what ... 'Special'?

    Posted by: RayRay | Mar 2, 2014 4:39:16 PM

  16. If Lowry wants to defend the bakers and photographers, what would he say to the restaurant owners that won't take the reception for a gay wedding or the hotels that won't allow reservations for a gay couple on their honeymoon? How about landlords that don't want a gay, married couples in their buildings? What about a housing community that doesn't want a gay couple living within their midst?

    Okay, Rich. Answer that.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Mar 2, 2014 4:40:08 PM

  17. If that cake baker/florist/photographer said 'I don't want to provide my service because the customer is '_____' (Black, Muslim, an unwed woman, a foreigner, a Democrat) we wouldn't even be having this discussion. But because the customer is a 'homosexual' society is supposed to carve out a special exemption in non-discrimination laws or enact legislation like this so that we can be legally judged less than and denied public accommodation.

    'Religion' is not an excuse to defend racial bias. Religion is not an excuse to discriminate against a person of another faith. Nor is it an excuse to subjugate women. Or the disabled. Or Veterans. Or a person from another country. These groups are included in state & federal non-discrimination laws because legislatures have identified them as targeted groups for discrimination and acted to protect them from discrimination.

    Now guess which targeted group already identified is NOT protected.


    States that EXCLUDE sexual orientation/gender identity language in their anti-discrimination laws should be challenged. States & federal government haven't met their responsibility of equal protection of ALL their citizens. They are required to include a suspect class in their anti discrimination civil rights laws once that suspect class has been identified.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Mar 2, 2014 4:51:08 PM

  18. Rick Lowry, the neocon tool that never met a Middle East War he didn't want to send other people's kids to fight in. What a slimeball.

    Posted by: Kieran | Mar 2, 2014 4:52:52 PM

  19. Conservatives to this day still have hang ups with the Civil Rights Act. We don't live in a theocracy, you can not have a business open to the public then pick and choose who you serve based on your religion. Its bigots trying to use "god" as justification.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Mar 2, 2014 5:22:53 PM

  20. "if you're going to substantially burden someone's exercise of their religion, there has to be a compelling governmental interest at stake..."

    Stability and well-being of gay families is a compelling governmental interest.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Mar 2, 2014 5:29:26 PM

  21. And right on time, the GOP is trying to spin the living sh*t out of this. The bill didn't fail because it was unconstitutional, it failed because "we didn't understand it!".

    Gosh, if we just sat back and did nothing, we could have enjoyed the benefits of being treated like third-class citizens! Darn it!

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Mar 2, 2014 5:41:02 PM

  22. This article addresses it succinctly:

    Posted by: Mark | Mar 2, 2014 5:45:34 PM

  23. Isn't one of the Aaron Schock's boyfriend?

    Posted by: litper | Mar 2, 2014 5:54:39 PM

  24. He's not entitled to lie

    Posted by: Factoid | Mar 2, 2014 6:13:54 PM

  25. Let them spell out their bigotry: what types of businesses are allowed what sorts of discrimination???

    And these people really think they are taking a moral stance? (I can only guess why they lack a logical train of thought...)

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Mar 2, 2014 6:14:01 PM

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